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LONG DAY’S JOURNEY 
INTO NIGHT 



By the same Author 

THE EMPEROR JONES 
THE MOON OF THE CARIBBEES 
THE HAIRY APE 
ANNA CHRISTIE 
BEYOND THE HORIZON 
ALL god’s GHILLUN GOT WINGS 
THE GREAT GOD BROWN 
" MARCO MILLIONS * 
STRANGE INTERLUDE 
LAZARUS LAUGHED AND DYNAMO 
MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA 
DAYS WITHOUT END 
AH, WILDERNESS* 

THE ICEMAN COMETH 
A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN 
A TOUGH OF THE POET 



Long Day’s 
Journey into Night 

by 

Eugene O’Neill 



Jonathan Cape 

Thirty Bedford Square, London 



FIRST PUBLISHED IN GREAT BRITAIN JUNE 1 956 
REPRINTED I956, I958, I962 


CAUTION Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that Long Day's 
into Night, bemg fully protected under the copyright laws of the 
United States of America, the British Empire, mcludmg the Dommion of 
Canada, and all other countries of the copyright umon, is subject to a 
royalty All rights, mcludmg professional, amateur, motion picture, recita- 
tion, pubhc reading, radio oroadcastmg, and the nghte of translation mto 
foreign languages are strictly reserved Enquiries for ail performmg rights 
in this play should be addressed to Richard J Madden Play Co , Inc , at 
522 Fifth Avenue, New York City, N Y 


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BV BUTLER AND TANNER LTD. 
FROME AND LONDOTff 
BOUND BY A W* BAIN AND CO. LTD, 



For Carlotta^ on our 12th Wedding Anniversary 

DEAREST / give you the original script of this 
play of old sorrow^ written in tears and blood, A 
sadly inappropriate gift^ it would seem^for a day 
celebrating happiness But you will understand I 
mean it as a tribute to your love and tenderness 
which gave me the faith in love that enabled me to 
face my dead at last and wnte this play — write it 
with deep pity and understanding and forgiveness 
for all the four haunted Tyrones 

These twelve years^ Beloved One^ have been a 
Journey into Light — into love, Tou know my 
gratitude. And my love! 

GENE 

Tao House 
July 22, 1941 




SCENES 


ACT ONE 

Living-room of the Tyrones’ summer home 
8,30 a.m. on a day in August, 1912 

ACT TWO 

Scene i: The same, around 12 45 
Scene 2. The same, about a half-hour later 

ACT THREE 

The same, around 6 30 that evening 

ACT FOUR 
The same, around midmght 


CHARACTERS 

James Tyrone 

Mary Cavan Tyrone, hxs mfe 
James Tyrone, Jr., their elder son 
Edmund Tyrone, their younger son 
Cathleen, second gtrl 




ACT ONE 


SCENE. Living-room of James Tyrone* s summer home on a morn- 
ing in August^ 191 ^* 

At rear are two double doorways with portiires. The 
one at right leads into a front parlour with the formally ar- 
ranged^ set appearance of a room rarely occupied. The other 
opens on a dark^ windowless back parlour^ never used except 
as a passage from living-room to dining-room. Against the 
wall between the doorways is a small bookcase^ with a picture 
of Shakespeare above it^ containing novels by Balzac^ Z^la^ 
Stendhal^ philosophical and sociological jjoorks by Schopen- 
hauer^ Nietzsche^ Marx^ Engels^ Kropotkin^ Max Sterner^ 
plays by Ibsen, Shaw, Strindberg, poetry by Swinburne, Ros- 
setti, Wilde, Ernest Dowson, Kipling,-etc. 

In the nght wall, rear, is a screen door leading out on the 
porch which extends halfway around the house. Farther for- 
ward, a senes of three windows looks over the front lawn to 
the harbour and the avenue that runs along the water front A 
small wicker table and an ordinary oak desk are against the 
wall, flanking the windows. 

In the left wall, a similar senes of windows looks out on 
the grounds behind the house. Beneath them is a wicker couch 
with cushions, its head toward rear. Farther back is a large, 
glassed-in bookcase with sets of Dumas, Victor Hugo, 
Charles Lever, three sets of Shakespeare, The World* s Best 
Literature in fifty large volumes, Hume* s History of Eng- 
land, Thiers* History of the Consulate and Empire, Smol- 
lett*s History of England, Gibbon*s Roman Empire and 
'miscellaneous volumes of old plays, poetry, and several hs- 
tones of Ireland. The astonishing thing about these sets is 
that all the volumes have the look of hewing been read and 
reread. 


9 



The hardwood floor is nearly covered by a rug^ inoffensive 
in design and colour At centre is a round table with a green-- 
shaded reading lamp^ the cord plugged in one of the four 
sockets in the chandelier above. Around the table within 
reading-light range are four chairs^ three of them wicker arm- 
chairs^ the fourth {at right front of table) a varnished oak 
rocker with leather bottom. 

It IS about 8.30. Sunshine comes through the windows at 
nght. 

As the curtain rises, the family have just finished breakfast 
Mary Tyrone and her husband enter together from the back 
parlour, coming from the dining-room 

Mary is fifty-four, about medium height She still has a 
young, graceful figure, a tnfie plump, but showing little 
evidence of middle-aged waist and hips, although she is not 
tightly corseted Her face is distinctly Irish in type. It must 
once have been extremely pretty, and is still striking It does 
not match her healthy figure but is thin and pale with the 
bone structure prominent Her nose is long and straight, her 
mouth wide with full, sensitive lips. She uses no rouge or 
any sort of make-up Her high forehead is framed by thick, 
pure white hair. Accentuated by her pallor and white hair, 
her dark brown eyes appear black. They are unusually large 
and beautiful, with black brows and long curling lashes. 

What strikes one immediately is her extreme nervousness. 
Her hands are never still. They were once beautiful hands, 
with long, tapenng fingers, but rheumatism has knotted the 
joints and warped the fingers, so that now they have an ugly 
crippled look. One avoids looking at them, the more so be- 
came one u consmus she is sensitive about their appearance 
and humxhated by her inability to control the nervousness 
which draws attention to them. 

She is dressed simply but with a sure sense of what bedurmtu^ 
her. Her hair is arranged with fastidious care. Her voice is 
soft cmd attractive. When she is merry, there is a touch of 
Irish hit in ih 


10 



Her most appealing quality is the simple^ unaffected charm 
of a shy convent-girl youthfulness she has never lost •— an 
innate unworldly innocence. 

James Tyrone is sixty-five but looks ten years younger. 
About five feet eighty broad-shouldered and deep-chestedy he 
seems taller and slenderer because of his beanngy which has 
a soldierly quality of head upy chest outy stomach lUy shoulders 
squared. His face has begun to break down but he is still 
remarkably good-looking — a bigy finely shaped heady a 
handsome profiky deep-set light-brown eyes. His grey hair 
IS thin with a bald spot like a monk^s tonsure. 

The stamp of his profession is unmistakably on him Not 
that he indulges in any of the deliberate temperamental pos- 
turings of the stage star He is by nature and preference a 
simplCy unpretentious many whose inclinations are still close 
to his humble beginnings and his Irish farmer forebears. But 
the actor shows in all his unconsaous habits of speechy move- 
ment and gesture These have the quality of belonging to 
a studied technique His voice is remarkably finCy resonant 
and flexiblcy and he takes great pnde in it. 

His clotheSy assuredly y do not costume any romantic part. 
He wears a threadbarey ready-madCy grey sack suit and 
shineless black shoeSy a collar-less shirt with a thick white 
handkerchief knotted loosely around his throat There is 
nothing picturesquely careless about this get-up. It is com- 
monplace shabby. He believes zn wearing his clothes to the 
limit of usefulnessy is dressed now for gardemngy and doesrit 
give a damn how he looks. 

He has never been really sick a day in his life. He has no 
nerves. There is a lot of stolidy earthy peasant in himy mixed 
with streaks of sentimental melancholy and rare flashes of 
intuitive sensibility. 

^ Tyrones arm u around his wife^s waist as they appear 
from the back parlour. Entering the living-room he gives her 
a playful hug. 


II 



TYRONE. You’re a fine armful now, Mary, with those 
twenty pounds you’ve gamed. 

MARY {smiles qffecUonaUly). I’ve gotten too fat, you mean, 
dear. I really ought to reduce. 

TYRONE. None of that, my lady' You’re just right 
We’ll have no talk of reducing. Is that why you ate so 
httle breakfast'* 

MARY. So httle"* I thought I ate a lot. 

TYRONE You didn’t. Not as much as I’d hkc to see, 
anyway. 

MARY {teasinglj). Oh you' You expect everyone to eat 
the enormous breakfast you do. No one else m the world 
could without dying of mdigestion. {She comes forward to 
stand by the right of table.) 

TYRONE (following her). I hope I’m not as big a glutton 
as that sounds. {With hearty satisfaction.) But thank God, 
I’ve kept my appetite and I’ve the digestion of a young 
man of twenty, if I am sixty-five. 

MARY. You surely have, James. No one could deny that. 

{She laughs and sits in Ihe wicker armchair at right rear of 
table. He comes around behind her and selects a agar 
from a box on the table and cuts off the end with a 
little clipper. From the dimng-room Jamie’s and 
Edmund’s voices are heard. Mary turns her head 
that way.) 

Why did the boys stay in the dining-room, I wonder? 
Cathleen must be waiting to clear the table. 

TYRONE {jokingly but with an undercurrent of resentment) . 
a secret confab they don’t want me to hear, I suppose. I’ll 
bet they’re cooking up some new scheme to touch the Old 
Man. 


12 



{She u silent on this, keeping her head turned toward their 
voices. Her hands appear on the table top, moving 
restlessly. He lights his agar and sits down in the 
rocker at right of table, which is his chair, and puffs 
contentedly.) 

There’s nothing hke the first afier-breakfast dgar, if it’s a 
good one, and this new lot have the nght mellow flavour. 
They’re a great bargain, too. I got them dead cheap. It 
was McGuire put me on to them. 

MARY {a tnfle aadly). I hope he didn’t put you on to any 
new piece of property at the same time. His real -estate 
bargains don’t work out so well. 

TYRONE {defensively). I wouldn’t say that, Mary. After 
all, he was the one who advised me to buy that place on 
Chestnut Street and I made a quick turnover on it for a 
fine profit. 

MARY {smiles now with teasing affection). I know. The 
famous one stroke of good luck. I’m sure McGuire never 
dreamed — ( Then she pais his hand.) Never mind, James 
I know it’s a waste of breath trymg to convmce you you’re 
not a cunmng real-estate speciflator. 

TYRONE {huffily). I’ve no such idea. But land is land, 
and It’s safer thzin the stocks and bonds of Wall Street 
swmdlers {Then placaiingly.) But let’s not argue about 
busmess this early in the mommg. 

(.4 pause. The boys' voices are again heard and one of 
them has a fit of coughing. Mary listens worriedly. 
Her fingers play nervously on the table top.) 

.jMLRY. James, it’s Edmund you ought to scold for not 
eating enough. He hardly touched anything except cofiee. 
He needs to eat to keep up his strength. I keep telling him 
that but he says he simply has no appetite. Of county 

13 



there’s nothing takes away your appetite hke a bad sum- 
mer cold. 

TYRONE. Yes, It’s only natural. So don’t let yourself 
get worried — 

MARY {quickly). Oh, I’m not I know he’ll be all right 
in a few days if he takes care of himself. (As if she wanted 
to dismiss the subject but canH ) But it does seem a shame he 
should have to be sick nght now 

TYRONE. Yes, It IS bad luck (He gives her a quick, warned 
look ) But you mustn’t let it upset you, Mary Remember, 
you’ve got to take care of yourself, too. 

MARY (quickly) I’m not upset. Thete’s nothing to be 
upset about. What makes you think I’m upset^ 

TYRONE. Why, nothmg, except you’ve seemed a bit 
high-strung the past few days. 

MARY (forcing a smile). I have^ Nonsense, dear It’s 
your imagmation. (With sudden tenseness) You realty must 
not watch me all the time, James. I mean, it makes me 
self-consaous. 

TYRONE (putting a hand over one of her nervously playing ones ) . 
Now, now, Mary That’s your imagination. If I’ve 
watched you it was to admire how fat and beautiful you 
looked. (His voice is suddenly moved by deep feeling ) I can’t 
tell you the deep happiness it gives me, darling, to see you 
as you’ve been smce you came back to us, your dear old 
self again. (He leans over and kisses her cheek impulsively — 
then turning back adds with a constrained air.) So keep up the 
good work, Mary. 

MARY (has turned her head away). I will, dear. (She gets 
up restlessly and goes to the windows at nght.) Thank heaf^s®^ 
the fog IS gone. (She turns back ) I do feel out of sorts this 
mormng. I wasn’t able to get much sleep with that awful 
foghorn gomg all night long. 

14 



TYRONE Yes, it’s like having a sick whale in the back 
yard. It kept me awake, too. 

MARY {affechonately amused). Did it? You had a strange 
way of showmg your restlessness. You were snormg so 
hard I couldn’t tell which was the foghorn! {She comes to 
hiMy laughing, and pats las cheek pltyfidly.) Ten foghorns 
couldn’t disturb you. You haven’t a nerve m you You’ve 
never had. 

TYRONE {hts vanity piqued— testily). Nonsense. You 
always exaggerate about my snoring. 

MARY. I couldn’t. If you could only hear yourself 
once — , 

(A hurst of laughter comes from the dmng-room. She 
turns her head, smiling.) 

What’s the joke, I wonder^ 

TYKOtm {grumpily). It’s on me. I’ll bet that much. It’s 
always on ^e Old Man. 

MARY {teasingly). Yes, it’s terrible the way we all pick 
on you, isn’t it^ You’re so abused' {She laughs — then with 
a pleased, reluved air ) Well, no matter what the joke is 
about, it’s a rehef to hear Edmund laugh. He’s been so 
down in the mouth lately. 

TYROitE {ignoring this — resentfully). Some joke of Jamie’s, 
I’ll wager. He’s for ever making sneering fun of somebody, 
that one. 

MARY. Now don’t start in on poor Jamie, dear. {Without 
conmcUon.) He’ll turn out all nght m the end, you wait and 
see. 

, JWfttONE. He’d better start soon, then. He’s nearly 
thirty-four. 

MARY {ignoring this). Good heavens, arc they going to 

15 



stay in the dining-room all day^ {She goes to the back parlour 
doorway and calls.) Jamie » Edmund! Come in the hving- 
room and give Cathleen a chance to clear the table. 

{Edmund calls back, "'We're coming. Mama'' She goes 
hack to the table ) 

TYRONE {grumbling). You’d find excuses for him no 
matter what he did 

MARY {sitting down beside him, pats his hand). Shush. 

( Their sons James, Jr , and Edmund enter together from 
the back parlour They are both grinning, still chucks 
ling over what had caused their laughter, and as they 
come forward they glance at their father and their 
gnns grow broader. 

Jamie, the elder, is thirty •‘three. He has his 
father's broad-shouldered, deep-chested physique, is 
an inch taller and weighs less, but appears shorter 
and stouter because he lacks Tyrone's bearing and 
graceful carnage. He also lacks his father's vitality. 
The signs of premature disintegration are on him. 
His face is still good-looking, despite marks of dis- 
sipation, but it has never been handsome like Tyrone's, 
although Jamie resembles him rather than his mother. 
He has fine brown eyes, their colour midway between 
his father's lighter and his mother's darker ones. 
His hair u thinning and alrea^ there is indication 
of a bald spot like Tyrone's His nose is unlike that 
of any other member of the family, pronouncedly 
aquiline. Combined with his habitual expression of 
cynicism it gives his countenance a Mephistophelian 
cast. But on the rare occasions when he smiles iSt^h- 
out sneering, his perso^lip possesses the remnant oj 
a humorous, romantic, wresponsible Irish charm — 
that of the beguiling ne^ er-do-well, with a strain of 

i6 



the sentimentally poetic^ attractive to women and 
popular with men 

He IS dressed in an old sack suit^ not as shabby as 
Tyrone's^ and wears a collar and tie. His fair skin 
IS sunburned a reddish^ freckled tan, 

Edmund is ten years younger than his brother^ a 
couple of inches taller^ thin and wiry Where Jamie 
takes after his father^ with little resemblance to his 
mother^ Edmund looks like both his parents^ hut is 
more like his mother. Her bigy dark eyes are the 
dominant feature in his long^ narrow Irish face. His 
mouth has the same quality of hypersensitiveness hers 
possesses. His high forehead is hers accentuated^ with 
dark brown hair^ sunbleached to red at the ends^ 
brushed straight back from it. But his nose is his 
father* s^ and his face in profile recalls Tyrone* s, 
Edmund* s hands are noticeably like his mother* s^ with 
the same exceptionally long fingers. They even have 
to a minor degree the same nervousness It is in the 
quality of extreme nervous sensibility that the likeness 
of Edmund to his mother is most marked 
He IS plainly in bad health Much thinner than 
he should be^ hxs eyes appear feverish and his cheeks 
are sunken His skin^ in spite of being sunburned a 
deep browny has a parched sallowness. He wears a 
shirty collar and tUy no coaty old flannel trousersy 
brown sneakers,) 

MARY {turns smilingly to theUy in a merry tone that is a bit 
forced), IVe been teasing your father about his snoring. 
{To Tyrone ) I^U leave it to the boys, James. They must 
have heard you. No, not you, Jamie. I couid hear you 
the hall almost as bad as your father. You’re like 
him. As soon as your head touches the pillow you^re off 
and ten foghorns couldn’t wake you. {She st(^s abruptly^ 
catching Jamie* s ^es regarding her with an uneasy prohwg look. 



Her smile vamskes and her manner becomes self-conscious,) Why 
are you stanng, Jamie? {Her hands flutter up to her hair ) Is 
my hair coming down? It’s hard for me to do it up 
properly now. My eyes are getting so bad and I never can 
find my glasses. 

JAMEE {looks away guiltily). Your hair’s all right, Mama. 
I was only thinkmg how well you look. 

TYRONE {heartily) Just what I’ve been telhng her, 
Jamie. She’s so fat and sassy, there’ll soon be no holding 
her, 

EDMUiro. Yes, you certainly look gran^. Mama. 

{She IS reassured and smiles at him lovingly He winks 
with a kidding gnn ) 

I’ll back you up about Papa’s snoring. Gosh, what a 
racket! 

JAMIE I heard him, too {He quotes, putting on a ham- 
actor mcamer.) “The Moor, I know his trumpet.” 

{His mother and brother laugh ) 

TYRONE {scathingly). If it takes my snoring to make you 
remember Shakespeare instead of the dope sheet on the 
ponies, I hope I’ll keep on with it. 

MARY. Now, James! You mustn’t be so touchy, 

{Jaime shrugs kis shoulders and sits down in the chair on 
her right,) 

EDMOND {irritably). Yes, for Pete’s sake, Papa' The first 
thing after breakfast! Give it a rest, can’t you? 

{He slumps down in the chair at left of table next toliis 
brother. His father ignores him.) 

MARY {reprovingly) . Your father wasn’t finding fault with 

i8 



you, Vou don’t have to always take Jamie’s part. You’d 
think you were the one ten years older, 

jAssss.{boredly). What’s all the fuss about? Let’s forget it. 

TyRONE {contemptwusly). Yes, forget* Forget everything 
and face nothing* It’s a convement philosophy if you’ve 
no ambition in life except to — 

MARY. James, do be qmet. (Ske puts an am around his 
shoulder — coaxingly.) You must have gotten out of the 
wrong side of the bed this mommg {To the boys, changing 
the subject) What were you two gnnmng al^ut hke 
Cheshire cats wljen you came in** What was the joke? 

TYRONE {with a painful effort to be a good sport). Yes, let 
us in on it, lads. I told your mother I knew damned well it 
would be one on me, but never mind that, I’m used to it. 

JAMIE {dryly). Don’t look at me. This is the Kid’s story. 

EDMUND {gnns). I meant to tell you last night, Papa, 
and forgot it. Y esterday when I went for a walk I dropped 
m at the Inn — 

MARY {worriedly). You shouldn’t dnnk now, Edmund. 

EDMUND {ignoring ths). And who do you think I met 
there, with a beautiful bun on, but Shaughnessy, the 
tenant on that farm of yours, 

MARY {smiling). That dreadful man! But he is fiiimy. 

TYRONE {scowling). He’s not so funny when you’re his 
landlord. He’s a wily Shanty Mick, that one. He could 
hide behind a corkscrew. What’s he complaimng about 
jsSW, Edmund — for I’m damned sure he’s complaining. 
I suppose he wants his rent lowered. I let him have the 
place for almost nothmg, just to keep someone on it, and 
he never pays that till I threaten to evict him. 

19 



EDMUND. No, he didn’t beef about anything. He was so 
pleased with hfe he even bought a dnnk, and that’s prac- 
tically unheard of He was dehghted because he’d had a 
fight with your friend, Harker, the Standard Oil mil- 
honaire, and won a glonous victory. 

MARY {mth amused dismay). Oh, Lord! James, you’ll 
really have to do something — 

TYRONE Bad luck to Shaughnessy, anyway! 

JAMIE {maliciously) I’ll bet the next time you see Harker 
at the Club and give him the old respectful bow, he won’t 
see you. 

• 

EDMUND Yes. Harker will think you’re no gentleman 
for harbounng a tenant who isn’t humble in the presence 
of a king of America. 

TYRONE. Never mind the Soaalist gabble. I don’t care 
to hsten — 

MARY {tactfidly). Go on with your story, Edmund. 

EDMUND {^gnns at hts father provocatively). Well, you re- 
member, Papa, the ice pond on Barker’s estate is right 
next to the farm, and you remember Shaughnessy keeps 
pigs. Well, It seems there’s a break in the fence anil the 
pigs have been bathing m the milhonaire’s ice pond, and 
Barker’s foreman told him he was sure Shaughnessy had 
broken the fence on purpose to give his pigs a free wallow. 

MARY {shocked and amused). Good heavens! 

TYRONE {sourly, but unth a trace of admiraUori). I’m sure 
he did, too, the duty scallywag It’s hke hirri 

EDMUND. So Harker came in person to rebuke Shaugh- 
nessy. {He chuckles.) A very bonehead play! If I needted 
any further proof that our ruhng plutocrats, especially the 
ones who inherited their boodle, are not mental giants, 
that would clinrh It. 


20 



TYRONE {with appreaation, before he thinks). Yes, he’d be 
no match for Shaughnessy. {Then he growls ) Keep your 
damned anarchist remarks to yourself. I won’t have them 
m my house. {But he is full of eager anUapaUon ) What 
happened? 

EDMUND. Harker had as much chance as I would with 
Jack Johnson Shaughnessy got a few dnnks under his 
belt and was waiting at the gate to welcome him. He told 
me he never gave Harker a chance to open his mouth. 
He began by shouting that he was no slave Standard Oil 
could trample on. He was a King of Ireland, if he had his 
rights, and scum was scum to him, no matter how much 
money it had stolen from the poor. 

MARY. Oh, Lord! {But she carCt help laughing^ 

EDMUND Then he accused Harker of making his fore- 
man break down the fence to entice the pigs into the ice 
pond m order to destroy them. The poor pigs, Shaugh- 
nessy yeUed, had caught their death of cold. Many of 
them were dymg of pneumonia, and several others had 
been taken down with cholera from dnnkmg the poisoned 
water. He told Harker he was hinng a lawyer to sue him 
for damages. And he wound up by saying that he had 
to put up with poison ivy, ticks, potato bugs, snakes and 
skunks on his farm, but he was an honest man who drew 
the hne somewhere, and he’d be damned if he’d stand for 
a Standard Oil thief trespassing. So would Harker kindly 
remove his dirty feet from the premises before he sicked 
the dog on him. And Harker did! 

{He and fame laugh.) 

^jiARY {shocked but giggling). Heavens, what a terrible 
tongue that man has! 

TYRONE {admiringly before he thinks). The damned old 
scoundrel! By God, you can’t beat him! {He laughs — then 

21 



stops abruptly and scowls.) The dirty blackguard' He’ll get 
me m senous trouble yet. I hope you told him I’d be mad 
as hell — 

EDMUND. I told him you’d be tickled to death over the 
great Insh victory, and so you are. Stop fakmg, Papa. 

TYRONE Well, I’m not tickled to death. 

MARY (teastngly). You are, too, James. You’re simply 
dehghted! 

TYRONE. No, Mary, a joke is a joke, but — 

EDMUND I told Shaughnessy he should have reminded 
Harker that a Standard Oil milhonaire ought to welcome 
the flavour of hog in his ice water as an appropriate touch. 

TYRONE. The devil you did! {Frowning ) Keep your 
damned Socialist anarchist sentiments out of my affairs' 

EDMUND Shaughnessy almost wept because he hadn’t 
thought of that one, but he said he’d include it in a letter 
he’s writing to Harker, along with a few other insults he’d 
overlooked. 

{He and Jamu laugh ) 

TYRONE What are you laughing at? There’s nothing 
funny — A fine son you are to help that blackguard get 
me into a lawsuit' 

MARY. Now, James, don’t lose your temper. 

TYRONE {turns on Jamu). And you’re worse than he is, 
encouraging him. I suppose you’re regretting you weren’t 
there to prompt Shaughnessy with a few nastier insults. 
You’ve a fine talent fta- that, if for nothing else. 

MARY. James' There’s no reason to scold Jamie. 

{Jamu IS about to make some sneering remark to his 
father, but he shrugs Jus shoulders.) 

23 



EDMUND {with sudden nervovs exasperation) . Oh, for God’s 
sake, Papa! If you’re starting that stuff again, I’ll beat it. 
{He jumps up) 1 left my book upstairs, anyway. {He goes 
to the front parlour^ saying disgustedly:) God, Papa, I should 
think you’d get sick of hearing yourself— 

{He disappears. Tyrone looks after him angrily^ 

UARY. You mustn’t mind Edmund, James. Remember 
he isn’t well. 

{Edmund can be heard coughing as he goes upstairs.) 

{She adds nervously.) A summer cold makes anyone irritable. 

JAMIE {genuinely concerned). It’s not just a cold he’s got 
The Kid is damned sick. 

{His father gives him a sharp warning look but he doesrUt 
see it ) 

MARY {Jums on him resentfully). Why do you say that? 
Itti’justacold! Anyone can tell that* You always imagine 
things! 

TYRONE {with another warning glance at Jamie — easily) . All 
Jamie meant was Edmund might have a touch of some- 
thing else, too, which makes his cold worse. 

JAMIE. Sure, Mama That’s all I meant. 

TYRONE. Doctor Hardy thinks it might be a bit of 
malarial fever he caught when he was in the tropics. If it 
IS, quinine will soon cure it. 

MARY {a look of contemptuous hostility flashes across her face). 
Doctor Hardy! I wouldn’t beheve a thing he said, if he 
swore on a stack of Bibles* I know what doctors are. 
They’re aU alike. Anything, they don’t care what, to keep 
you coming to them. {She stops shorty overcome by a fit of acute 
self consciousness as she catches their ^es fixed on her. Her hands 

23 



jerk nervously to her hair. She forces a smile) What is 
What are you looking at^ Is my hair — ^ 

TYRONE {puts his arm around her — with guilty heartiness, 
^ving her a playful hug) There’s nothing wrong with your 
hair. The healthier and fatter you get, the vainer you be- 
come You’ll soon spend half the day pnmping before the 
mirror. 

MARY {half reassured). I really should have new glasses 
My eyes are so bad now. 

TYRONE {mth Irish blarney). Your eyes are beautiful, and 
well you know it. 

r 

{He gives her a kiss. Her face lights up with a charmings 
shy embarrassment Suddenly and startlingly one 
sees in her face the girl she had once been^ not a ghost 
of the deady but still a living part of her.) 

MARY. You mustn’t be so silly, James. Right in front of 
Jamie* 

TYRONE Oh, he’s on to you, too. He knows this fuss 
about eyes and hair is only fishing for comphments. Eh, 
Jamie? 

JAMIE {his face has clearedy tooy and there is an old boyish charm 
in his loving smile at his mother). Yes. You can’t kid us, 
Mama. 

MARY {laughs and an Irish lilt comes into her voice) Go along 
with both of you* {Then she speaks with a girlish gravity^ 
But I did truly have beautiful hair once, didn’t I, James^ 

TYRONE. The most beautiful in the world* 

MARY. It was a rare shade of reddish brown and so 
long it came down below my knees. You ought to re- 
member It, too, Jamie. It wasn’t until after Edmund was 
born that I had a single grey hair. Then it began to turn 
white. {The girlishness fades from her face.) 

24 



TYRONE (quickly). And that made it prettier than ever, 

MARY (again embarrassed and pleased). Wdl you listen to 
your father, Jamie — after thirty-five years of mamage! 
He isn’t a great actor for nothing, is he^ What’s come over 
you, James^ Are you pounng coals of fire on my head for 
teasmg you about snonng^ Well then, I take it all back. 
It must have been only the foghorn I heard. (She laughs, 
and they laugh with her Then she changes to a brisk businesslike 
air.) But I can’t stay with you any longer, even to hear 
comphments. I must see the cook about dmner and the 
day’s marketing. (She gets up and sighs with humorous exag- 
geration ) Bridget is so lazy. And so sly. She begms telhng 
me about her relatives so I can’t get a word m edgeways 
and scold her. Well, I might as well get it over. (She goes 
to the back-parlour doorway, then turns, her face worried agcan.) 
You mustn’t make Edmund work on the grounds with you, 
James, remember. (Again with the strange obstinate set to her 
face ) Not that he isn’t strong enough, but he’d perspire 
and he might catch more cold. 

(She disappears through the back parlour. Tyrone turns 
on Jarrae condemningly.) 

TYRONE. You’re a fine lunkhead' Haven’t you any 
sense'* The one thing to avoid is saying anything that 
would get her more upset over Edmund. 

JAMIE (shrugging his shoulders). All right. Have it your 
way. I think it’s the wrong idea to let Mama go on 
kiddmg herself. It will only make the shock worse when 
she has to ftice it. Anyway, you can see she’s dehberately 
fooling herself with diat summer-cold talk. She knows 
better, 

TYRONE. Knows? Nobody knows yet. 

JAMIE. Well, I do. I was with Edmund when he went 
to Doc Hardy on Monday. I heard him pull that touch 

25 



of malaria stuff. He was stalling That isn’t what he 
tTunlfs any more You know it as well as I do You talked 
to him when you went uptown yesterday, didn’t you'!’ 

TYRONE. He couldn’t say anything for sure yet. He’s 
to phone me today before Edmund goes to him. 

JAMIE {slowly). He thinks it’s consumption, doesn’t he. 
Papa-* 

TYRONE [reluctantly). He said it might be. 

JAMIE [moved, kis love for his brother coming out). Poor 
kid' God damn it! [He turns on his father accusingly) It 
might never have happened if you’d seqf him to a real 
doctor when he first got sick, 

TYRONE. What’s the matter with Hardy!* He’s always 
been our doctor up here. 

JAMIE. Everything’s the matter with him! Even in this 
hick burg he’s rated thyrd class! He’s a cheap old quack! 

TYRONE, That’s nght' Run him down' Run down 
everybody' Everyone is a fake to you! 

JAMIE [contemptuously). Hardy only charges a dollar. 
That’s what makes you think he’s a fine doctor' 

TYRONE (jtong). That’s enough' You’re not drunk now' 
There’s no excuse — [He controls himself— a ht defensively.) 
If you mean I can’t afford one of the fine soaety doctors 
who prey on the nch summer people — 

JAMIE. Can’t afford!* You’re one ofthe biggest property 
owners around here. 

TYRONE. That doesn’t mean I’m nch. It’s aU mort- 
gaged— 

JAMIE. Because you always buy more instead of paying 
oflF mortgages. If Edmund was a lousy acre of land you 
wanted, the sky would be the limi t! 

26 



TYRONE. That’s a he' And your sneers against Doctor 
Hardy are hes' He doesn’t put on frills, or have an office 
in a fashionable location, or drive around in an expensive 
automobile. That’s what you pay for with those other 
five-dollars-to-look-at-your-tongue fellows, not their skill. 

jAMBE {with a scornful shrug of las shoulders). Oh, all right. 
I’m a fool to argue. You can’t change the leopard’s spots. 

TYRONE {mth rising anger). No, you can’t. You’ve 
taught me that lesson only too well. I’ve lost all hope you 
will ever change yours. You dare tell me what I can 
afford'* You’ve never known the value of a dollar and 
never will' Youive never saved a dollar in your hfe! At 
the end of each season you’re penniless' You’ve thrown 
your salary away every week on whores and whiskey! 

JAMIE. My salary' Christ! 

TYRONE. It’s more than you’re worth, and you couldn’t 
get that if It wasn’t for me. If you weren’t my son, there 
isn’t a manager in the business who would give you a 
part, your reputation stinks so. As it is, I have to humble 
my pnde and beg for you, saying you’ve turned over a 
new leaf) although I know it’s a he! 

JAMBE. I never wanted to be an actor. You forced me 
on the stage. 

TYRONE. That’s a lie! You made no effort to find any- 
thing else to do. You left it to me to get you a job and I 
have no influence except m the theatre. Forced you' 
You never wanted to do anything except loaf in bar- 
rooms! You’d have been content to sit back like a lazy 
lunk and sponge on me for the rest of your life! After all 
the money I’d wasted on your education, and all you did 
was get fired m disgrace finm every college you went to! 

JAMBE. Oh, for God’s sake, don’t drag up that anaent 
history! 


27 



TYRONE. It’s not ancient history that you have to come 
home every summer to hve on me. 

JAMIE. I earn my board and lodgmg working on the 
grounds. It saves you hmng a man. 

TYRONE. Bah! You have to be driven to do even that 
much' {Hts anger ebbs into a weary complaint.) I wouldn’t 
give a damn if you ever displayed the shghtest sign of 
gratitude. The only thanks is to have you sneer at me for 
a dirty miser, sneer at my profession, sneer at every 
damned thmg in the world — except yourself. 

JAMIE (wryly). That’s not true. Papa. ^ You can’t hear 
me talking to myself, that’s all 

TYRONE (stares at km puzdedly, then quotes mechanically). 
“Ingratitude, the vilest weed that grows” ! 

JAMIE. I could see that hue coimng' God, how many 
thousand times—! (He stops, bored with their quarrel, an 
shrugs hs shoulders ) All nght. Papa, I’m a bum. Any- 
thing you like, so long as it stops the argument 

TYRONE (mth indignant appeal now). If you’d get ambi- 
tion in your head instead of foUy' You’re young yet 
You could still make your mark You had the talent to 
become a fine actor! You have it still. You’re my son — ! 

JAMIE (boredly). Let’s forget me. I’m not interested in 
the subject. Neither are you. 

(Tyrone gives up. Jamie goes on casually.) 

What started us on this? Oh, Doc Hardy. When is he 
going to call you up about Edmund? 

TYRONE. Around lunch time. (He pauses — then defens- 
ively.) I couldn’t have sent Edmund to a better doctor. 
Hardy’s treated him whenever he was sick up here, since 
he was knee-high. He knows his constitution as no other 

28 



doctor could. It’s not a question of my being miserly, as 
you’d like to make out. {Bitterly.) And what could the 
^est speaahst in America do for Edmund, after he’s 
dehberately rmned his health by the mad hfe he’s led ever 
since he was fired from college^ Even before that, when 
he was in prep school, he began dissipating and playing 
the Broadway sport to imitate you, when he’s never had 
your constitution to stand it. You’re a healthy hulk hke 
me — or you were at his age — but he’s always been a 
bundle of nerves hke his mother. I’ve warned him for 
years his body couldn’t stand it, but he wouldn’t heed me, 
and now it’s too late. 

JAMIE {sharply). What do you mean, too late? You talk 
as if you thought — 

TYRONE {guiltily explosive) Don’t be a damned fool' I 
meant nothing but what’s plain to anyone' His health has 
broken down and he may be an invahd for a long time. 

JAMIE {stares at his father, ignoring his explanation). I know 
It’s an Irish peasant idea consumption is fatal. It probably 
IS when you hve in a hovel on a bog, but over here, with 
modem treatment — 

TYRONE. Don’t I know that' What are you gabbing 
about, anyway? And keep your dirty tongue off Ireland, 
with your sneers about peasants and bogs and hovels'. 
{Accusingly.) The less you say about Edmund’s sickness, 
the better for your consaence! You’re more responsible 
than anyone! 

JAMIE {stung) . That’s a he ' I won’t stand for that, Papa! 

TYRONE. It’s the truth' You’ve been the worst influ- 
ence for him. He grew up admiring you as a hero! A fine 
example you set him! If you ever gave him advice except 
in the ways of rottenness, I’ve never heard of it' You 
made him old before his time, pumping him full of 'idiat 

29 



you consider worldly wisdom, when he was too young to 
see that your mind was so poisoned by your own failure 
in life, you wanted to beheve every man was a knave with 
his soul for sale, and every woman who wasn’t a whore 
was^ fool' 

JAMEE (mth a dtfenswe air of weary indifference again). All 
right. I did put Edmund wise to thmgs, but not until I 
saw he’d started to raise hell, and knew he’d laugh at me 
if I tned the good advice, older brother stuff. All I did 
was make a pal of him and be absolutely frank so he’d 
learn, from my mistakes that — {He shrugs fas shoulders — 
(yracadly ) Well, that if you can’t be good you can at least 
be carefiil. 

{His father snorts contemptuously. Suddenly Jamu be- 
comes really moved.) 

That’s a rotten accusation. Papa. You know how much 
the Kid means to me, and how close we’ve always been 
— not like the usual brothers' I’d do anything for him. 

TYRONE {impressed — rrwllifyingly). I know you may have 
thought it was for the best, Jamie I didn’t say you did it 
dehberately to harm him. 

JAMIE. Besides, it’s damned rot' I’d like to see anyone 
influence Edmund more than he wants to be. His qmet- 
ness fools people into thinking they can do what they hke 
with him. But he’s stubborn as hell inside and what he 
does is what he wants to do, and to hell with anyone else! 
What had I to do with all the crazy stunts he’s pulled in 
the last few years — working his way all over the map as a 
sailor and aU that stuff. I thought that was a damned 
fool idea, and I told him so. You can’t imagine me gettmg 
fun out of being on the beach in South America or living 
in filthy dives, drinking rotgut, can you? No, thanks! I’ll 
stick to Broadway, and a room with a bath, and bars that 
serve bonded Bourbon. 


30 



TYRONE. You and Broadway' It’s made you what you 
are ' ( With a touch of pnde ) Whatever Edmund’s done, he’s 
had the guts to go oflF on his own, where he couldn’t come 
whimng to me the nunute he was broke. 

JAMIE {stung into sneering jealousy). He’s always come 
home broke finally, hasn’t he? And what did Ins going 
away get him^ Look at him now! {He is suddenly shame- 
faced ) Chnst' That’s a lousy thing to say. I don’t mean 
that. 

TYRONE {decides to ignore this) . He’s been doing well on 
the paper I was hoping he’d found the work he wants 
to do at last. -* 

jAim. {sneering jealously again). A hick town rag' What- 
ever bull they hand you, they tell me he’s a pretty bum 
reporter. If he weren’t your son — {Ashamed again ) No, 
that’s not true' They’re glad to have him, but it’s the 
speaal stuff that gets him by. Some of the poems and 
parodies he’s written are damned good. {Grudgingly again.) 
Not that they’d ever get him anywhere on the big time. 
{Hastily.) But he’s certainly made a damned good start. 

TYRONE. Yes. He’s made a start. You used to talk 
about wantmg to become a newspaper man but you were 
never wilhng to start at the bottom. You expected — 

JAMIE. Oh, for Christ’s sake. Papa' Can’t you lay off 
me! 

TYRONE {stares at tarn — then looks away — after a pause). 
It’s damnable luck Edmund should be sick right now. It 
couldn’t have come at a worse time for him. {He adds, un- 
able to conceal an almost furtive uneasiness.) Or for your 
mother. It’s damnable she should have this to upset her, 
just when she needs peace and fireedom fi-om worry. She’s 
been so well in the two months since she came home. 
{Hu voice grows husky and trembles a little.) It’s been heavm 

31 



to me. This home has been a home again. But I needn’t 
tell you, Jamie. 

{Hts son looks at him, for the first time with an under- 
standing sympatf^. It is as if sudden^ a deep bond 
of common feeling existed between them in which 
their antagonisms could be forgotten.) 

JAMIE {almost gently). I’ve felt the same way, Papa. 

TYRONE. Yes, this time you can see how strong and 
sure of herself she is. She’s a different woman entirely 
from the other times. She has control of her nerves — or 
she had until Edmund got sick Now you can feel her 
growing tense and frightened underneath I wish to God 
we could keep the truth from her, but we can’t if he has 
to be sent to a sanatonum What makes it worse is her 
father died of consumption. She worshipped him and she’s 
never forgotten. Yes, it will be hard for her But she can 
do it! She has the will-power now! We must help her, 
Jamie, m every way we can' 

JAMIE {moved). Of course. Papa. {Hesitantly) Outside 
of nerves, she seems perfectly all right this mormng. 

irrsom. {with hearty confidence now). Never better. She’s 
full of fun and mischief {Suddenly he frowns at Jamie sus- 
piciously ) Why do you say, seems^ Why shouldn’t she be 
all right? What the hell do you mean? 

JAMIE Don’t start jumping down my throat! God, 
Papa, this ought to be one thing we can talk over frankly 
without a battle. 

TYRONE. I’m sorry, Janue. {Tensely.) But go on and 
teU me — 

JAMIE. There’s nothing to teU. I was aU wroi^. It’s 
just that last night — Well, you know how it is, I can’t for- 
get the past I can’t help bemg suspicious. Any more 

33 



than you can. {Bitterly) That’s the hell of it. And it 
makes it hell for Mama! She watches us watchmg her — 

TfROim {sadly). I know. {Tensely.) Well, what was it? 
Can’t you speak out^ 

JAMIE. Nothing, I tell you. Just my damned foohsh- 
ness. Around three o’clock this mormng, I woke up and 
heard her movmg around in the spare room. Then she 
went to the bathroom. I pretended to be asleep. She 
stopped m the hall to listen, as if she wanted to make sure 
I was. 

TYRONE {mth _fyrced sconi). For God’s sake, is that all? 
She told me herself the foghorn kept her awake all mght, 
and every night since Edmund’s been sick she’s been up 
and down, going to his room to see how he was 

JAMIE {eagerly). Yes, that’s right, she did stop to listen 
outside his room. {Hesitantly again.) It was her being m 
the spare room that scared me. I couldn’t help remember- 
ing that when she starts sleeping alone in there, it has 
always been a sign — 

TYRONE. It isn’t this time* It’s easily explained. Where 
else could she go last mght to get away from my snoring? 
{He gives way to a burst of resentfd anger ) By God, how you 
can hve with a mind that sees nothing but the worst 
motives behind everything is beyond me! 

JAMIE {stung). Don’t pull that! I’ve just said I was all 
wrong. Don’t you suppose I’m as glad of that as you are! 

TYRONE {mollifyingly). I’m sure you are, Jamie. {A 
pcaise. His expression becomes sombre. He speaks slowly with a 
superstitious dread.) It would be like a curse she can’t escape 
if worry over Edmund — It was m her long Sickness afr^ 
bringix^ him into the world that she finrt — 

JAMIE. She didn’t have anything to do wdi 

c 33 



TYRONE. I’m not blaming her. 

JAMIE {bihngly). Then who are you blaming^ Edmu 
for bemg bom? 

TYRONE. You damned fool' No one was to blame. 

JAMIE. The bastard of a doctor was' From w 
Mama’s said, he was another cheap quack hke Har 
You wouldn’t pay for a first-rate — 

TYRONE. That’s a he' {Furiously ) So I’m to blai 
That’s what you’re dnving at, is it? You evd-mmc 
loafer! 

JAMIE {wamtngly as he hears his mother in the dimng-roo 
Ssh! 


{Tyrone gets hastily to his feet and goes to look out of 
windows at right. Jamie speaks with a comp 
change of tone ) 

Well, if we’re gomg to cut the firont hedge today, w 
better go to work. 

{Maiy comes in from the back parlour. She gives a qui 
suspiaous glance from one to the other, her man 
nervously self-conscious.) 

TYRONE {turns from the window — with an actor's heartina 
Yes, it’s too fine a mormng to waste mdoors argmi 
Take a look out the window, Mary. There’s no fog m 1 
harbour. I’m sure the spell of it we’ve had is over no\ 

MARY {going to him). I hope so, dear. {To Jamie, fore 
a smile.) Did I actually hear you suggesting work on 1 
front hedge, Janue'* Wonders will never cease! You mi 
want pocket money badly. 

JAMIE {kiddingly). When don’t P {He tdnks at I 
with a dermve glance at his father.) I expect a salary 

34 



at least one large iron man at the end of the week — to 
carouse on' 

MARY {does not respond to hts humour — her hands fluttering 
over the front of her dress). What were you two argumg 
about'* 

JAMIE {shrugs hts shoulders). The same old stuff. 

MARY. I heard you say something about a doctor, and 
your father accusmg you of bemg evil-minded. 

JAMIE {quwkly). Oh, that. I was saymg again Doc 
Hardy isn’t my idea of the world’s greatest physiaan. 

MARY {knows he ts lying — vaguely). Oh. No, I wouldn’t 
say he was, either. {Changing the subject — forang a smile ) 
That Bridget' I thought I’d never get away. She told me 
aU about her second cousin on the pohee force m St. 
Loms {Then with nervous irritation.) WeU, if you’re gomg 
to work on the hedge why don’t you go^ {Hastily ) I 
mean, take advantage of the sunshine before the fog 
comes back. {Strangely, as f talking aloud to herself.) Be- 
cause I know It will. {Suddenly she ts self-consciously aware 
that they are both staring fixedly at her — flumedly, raising her 
hands) Or I should say, the rheumatism in my hands 
knows. It’s a better weather prophet than you are, 
James. {She stares at her hands with fasetnaied repulsion.) 
Ugh! How ugly they are! Who’d ever beheve they were 
once beautiful? 

{They stare at her with a growing dread.) 

TYROiBE {takes her hands and gently pushes them dowri). Now, 
now, Mary. None of that fbohshness. They’re the 
sweetest hands in the world. 

{She smiles, her face lighting up, and kisses him gratefully. 
He turns to fas son) 

C!ome on, Jaime. Your mother’s nght to scold us. The 

35 



way to start work is to start work The hot sun will sweat 
some of that booze fat off your middle. 

{He opens the screen door and goes out on the porch and 
disappears down a flight of steps leading to the 
ground, Jamie rises from his chair and^ taking off 
his coatf goes to the door At the door he turns back 
but avoids looking at her^ and she does not look at 
him ) 

JAMIE {with an awkward, uneasy tenderness). We’re all so 
proud of you. Mama, so darned happy. 

{She stiffens and stares at him with a frightened defiance. 
He flounders on,) 

But you’ve still got to be careful You mustn’t worry so 
much about Edmund. He’ll be all right. 

MARY {with a stubborn, bitterly resentful look). Of course, 
he’ll be all nght. And I don’t know what you mean, 
warning me to be careful. 

JAMIE {rebuffed and hurt, shrugs his shoulders). All right. 
Mama. I’m sorry I spoke. 

{He goes out on the porch. She waits rigidly until he dis- 
appears down the steps. Then she sinks down in the 
chair he had occupied, her face betraying a fright- 
ened, furtive desperation, her hands roving over the 
table top, aimlessly moving objects around. She hears 
Edmund descending the stairs in the front hall. As 
he nears the bottom he has a fit of coughing. She 
springs to her feet, as if she wanted to run away 
from the sound, and goes quscJdy to the windows at 
nght. She is looking out, apparently calm, as he 
enters from the front parlour, a book in one hand. 
She turns to him, her lips set in a welcoming, 
motherly smile,) 


36 



MARY. Here you are. I was just going upstairs to look 
for you. 

EDMUND. I waited until they went out I don’t want to 
mix up in any arguments. I feel too rotten. 

MARY {almost resentfully) Oh, I’m sure you don’t feel 
half as badly as you make out You’re such a baby. You 
like to get us worried so we’ll make a fuss over you. 
[Hastily.) I’m only teasing, dear. I know how miserably 
uncomfortable you must be. But you feel better today, 
don’t youi* ( Worriedly, taking his arm.) All the same, you’ve 
grown much too thin. You need to rest all you can. Sit 
down and I’U mtke you comfortable. 

[He sits down in the rocking-chair and she puts a pillow 
behind his back ) 

There. How’s that^ 

EDMUND. Grand. Thanks, Mama. 

MARY [kisses him — tenderly). All you need is your mother 
to nurse you. Big as you are, you’re still the baby of the 
family to me, you know. 

EDMUND [takes her hand — with deep seriousness). Never 
mind me. You take care of yourself. That’s all that 
coimts. 

MARY [evading his ^es). But I am, dear. [Forcing a 
laugh.) Heavens, don’t you see how fat I’ve grown! I’ll 
have to have all my dresses let out. [She tarns away and 
goes to the windows at right. She attempts a light, amused tone.) 
They’ve started chpping the hedge. Poor Jamie! How 
he hates working in front where everyone passing can see 
him- There go the Chatfields in their new Mercedes. It’s 
a beautiful car, isn’t it^ Not hke our secondhand Packard. 
Poor Jamie! He bent almost under the hedge so they 
wouldn’t notice him. They bowed to your father and he 

37 



bowed back as if he were taking a curtain call. In that 
filthy old suit I’ve tried to make him throw away. {Her 
voice has grown hitter.) Really, he ought to have more pnde 
than to make such a show of himself. 

EDMUND He’s nght not to give a damn what anyone 
t hinks . Jamie’s a fool to care about the Chatfields. For 
Pete’s sake, who ever heard of them outside this hick burg^ 

MARY {with satufaction) No one. You’re qmte right, 
Edmund. Big frogs in a small puddle It is stupid of 
Jamie. {She pauses, looking out of the window — then with an 
undercurrent of lonely yearning ) Still, the Chatfields and 
people hke them stand for somethmg. Y mean they have 
decent, presentable homes they don’t have to be ashamed 
of. They have fiiends who entertain them and whom 
they entertam. They’re not cut oflF fi:om everyone. {She 
turns back from the window ) Not that I want anything to 
do with them. I’ve always hated this town and everyone 
in It. You know that I never wanted to hve here m the 
first place, but your father hked it and insisted on bmldmg 
this house, and I’ve had to come here every summer. 

EDMUND. Well, it’s better than spending the summer in 
a New York hotel, isn’t it’ And this town’s not so bad. I 
like It well enough. I suppose because it’s the only home 
we’ve had. 

MARY. I’ve never felt it was my home. It was wrong 
from the start. Everythmg was done m the cheapest way. 
Your father would never spend the money to make it 
nght. It’sjustas well we haven’t any fiiends here. I’d be 
ashamed to have them step in the door. But he’s never 
wanted family fiiends. He hates calhng on people, or 
receivmg them. All he likes is to hobnob with men at the 
Club or in a bar-room. Jamie and you are the same way, 
but you’re not to blame. You’ve never had a chance to 
meet decent people here. I know you both would have 

38 



been so different if you’d been able to assoaate with nice 
girls instead of — You’d never have disgraced yourselves 
as you have, so that now no respectable parents will let 
their daughters be seen with you. 

EDMUND {imtablj) Oh, Mama, forget it' Who cares? 
Jamie and I would be bored stiff. And about the Old 
Man, what’s the use of talking? You can’t change him. 

MARY {meckaracally rebuking) Don’t call your father the 
Old Man. You should have more respect {Then duUy.) 
I know it’s useless to talk. But sometimes I feel so lonely. 
{Her lips quiver and she keeps her head turned cojoqy ) 

EDMUND. An)way, you’ve got to be fair. Mama. It 
may have been all his fault m the begmiung, but you 
know that later on, even if he’d wanted to, we couldn’t 
have had people here— {He flounders guiltily,) I mean, 
you wouldn’t have wanted them 

MARY {mrwing — her lips quivering pitvfully). Don’t. I 
can’t bear having you reimnd me. 

EDMUND. Don’t take it that way! Please, Mama! I’m 
trying to help. Because it’s bad for you to forget. The 
right way is to remember. So you’ll always be on your 
guard. You know what’s happened before. {Miserably ) 
God, Mama, you know I hate to remind you. I’m doing 
It because it’s been so wonderful having you home the 
way you’ve been, and it would be terrible — 

MARY {stnckenly). Please, dear. I know you mean it for 
the best, but — {A defensive uneasiness comes into her voice 
agcan.) I don’t understand why you should suddenly say 
such things. What put it in your nund this mommg? 

EDMUND {evasively). Nothing. Just because I fed rotten 
and blue, I suppose. 

MARY. TeU me the truth. Why are you so suspidous 
all of a sudden? 


39 



EDMOND. I’m not! 


MARY. Oh, yes you are. I can feel it. Your father and 
Janue, too — particularly Jamie. 

EDMUND. Now don’t start imagining things, Mama. 

MARY {her hands fluttering). It makes it so much harder, 
hving m this atmosphere of constant suspicion, knowing 
everyone is spying on me, and none of you beheve in me, 
or trust me. 

EDMUND. That’s crazy. Mama. We do trust you. 

MARY. If there was only some place J could go to get 
away for a day, or even an afternoon, some woman fnend 
I could talk to — not about anything senous, sim ply laugh 
and gossip and forget for a while — someone besides the 
servants — that stupid Cathleen' 

EDMUND {gets up worriedly and puts his arm around her). 
Stop it. Mama. You’re getting yourself worked up over 
nothing. 

MARY. Your father goes out. He meets his fiiends in 
bar-rooms or at the Club. You and Jamie have the boys 
you know. You go out. But I am alone. I’ve always been 
alone. 

EDMUND {soothingly). Come now! You know that’s a fib. 
One of us always stays around to keep you company, or 
goes with you m the automobile when you take a drive. 

MARY {bitterly). Because you’re afraid to trust me alone! 
{She turns on him — sharply.) I insist you tell me why you act 
so differently this morning — why you felt you had to re- 
mind me — 

EDMUND {hesitates — then blurts out guilti^) . It’s stupid. 
It’s just that I wasn’t asleep when you came in my room 

40 



last night. You didn’t go back to your and Papa’s room. 
You went m the spare room for the rest of the night. 

MARY. Because your father’s snoring was driving me 
crazy! For heaven’s sake, haven’t I often used the spare 
room as my bedroom^ {Bitterly.) But I see what you 
thought. That was when — 

EDMUND {too vehemently). I didn’t think anything! 

MARY. So you pretended to be asleep m order to spy 
on me' 

EDMUND. No' I did it because I knew if you found out 
I was fevensh afld couldn’t sleep, it would upset you. 

MARY. Janue was pretending to be asleep, too, I’m sure, 
and I suppose your father — 

EDMUND. Stop It, Mama! 

MARY. Oh, I can’t bear it, Edmund, when even you — ! 
[Her hands Jbitter up to pat her hair in their aimless, distracted 
way. Suddenly a strange undercurrent of revengefiilness comes 
into her voice.) It would serve all of you right if it was true' 

EDMUND. Meuna! Don’t say that! That’s the way you 
talk when — 

MARY. Stop suspecting me' Please, dear' You hurt 
me' I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about you. 
That’s the real reason! I’ve been so worried ever since 
you’ve been sick. {She puts her arms around him and hugs him 
with a frightened, protective tenderness.) 

EDMUND {soothingly). That’s foolishness. You know it’s 
only a bad cold. 

MARY. Yes, of course, I know that! 

EDMUND. But listen. Mama. I want you to promise me 
that even if it should turn out to be something worse, 

41 



you’ll blow I’ll soon be all right again, anyway, and you 
won’t worry yourself sick, and you’ll keep on tabng care 
of yourself— 

MARY {fnghtenedlj). I won’t listen when you’re so silly' 
There’s absolutely no reason to talk as if you expected 
something dreadM' Of course, I promise you. I give 
you my sacred word of honour ' ( Then with a sad bitterness.) 
But I suppose you’re remembenng I’ve promised before 
on my word of honour. 

EDMUND. No! 

MARY {her bitterness receding into a resi^dhelplessness) . I’m 
not blaming you, dear. How can you help it'* How can 
any one of us forget'* {Strangely ) That’s what makes it so 
hard — for all of us. We can’t forget. 

EDMUND {grabs her shoulder). Mama' Stop it! 

MARY {forang a smile). All tight, dear. I didn’t mean to 
be so gloomy. Don’t mind me. Here. Let me feel your 
head Why, it’s mce and cool. You certainly haven’t any 
fever now. 

EDMUND Forget! It’s you — 

MARY But I’m quite all right, dear. {With a quick, strange, 
calculating, almost sly glance at him.) Except I naturally feel 
tired and nervous this mormng, after such a bad night. I 
really ought to go upstairs and he down until lunch-time 
and take a nap. {He gives her an instinctive look of suspicion — 
then, ashamed of himself, looks quickly away She humes on 
nervously.) What are you going to do? Read here^ It 
would be much better for you to go out in the fresh air 
and sunshine. But don’t get overheated, remember. Be 
sure and wear a hat. {She stops, looking straight at him now. 
He avoids her eyes. There is a tense pause. Then she speaks 
jeenn^y.) Or are you afraid to trust me alone? 

42 



EDMUND {tormentedly). No! Can’t you stop talking like 
that? I think you ought to take a nap {He goes to the screen 
door — forcing a joking tone ) I’ll go down and help Jamie 
bear up. I love to he in the shade and watch him work. 

{He forces a laugh in which she makes herself join Then 
he goes out on the porch and disappears down the 
steps. Her first reaction is one of relief She appears 
to relax She sinks down in one of the wicker arm-- 
chairs at rear of table and leans her head back^ closing 
her eyes But suddenly she grows terribly tense again 
Her eyes open and she strains forward^ seized by a 
fit of nervous panic. She begins a desperate battle with 
herself Her long fingers^ warped and knotted by 
rheumatism^ drum on the arms of the chair^ driven 
by an insistent life of their own^ without her consent.) 

Curtain 


43 



ACT TWO, SCENE ONE 


SCENE. The same. It u around quarter to one. Mo sunlight comes 
into the room now through the windows at right Outside the 
day IS still fine but increasingly sultry^ with a faint haziness 
in the air which softens the glare of the sun. 

Edmund sits in the armchair at left of table^ reading a 
book. Or rather he u trying to concentrate on it but cannot. 
He seems to be listening for some sound from upstairs His 
manner u nervously apprehensive and he looks more sickly 
than in the previous act 

The second girl^ Cathleen^ enters from the back parlour. 
She carries a tray on which is a bottle of bonded Bourbon^ 
several whiskey glasses^ and a pitcher of ice water. She is a 
buxom Irish peasant^ in her early twenties, with a red- 
cheeked comely face, black hair and blue eyes — amiable, 
Ignorant, clum^, and possessed by a dense, well-meaning 
stupidity. She puts the tray on the table. Edmund pretends 
to be so absorbed in his book he does not notice her, but she 
Ignores this. 

CATHLEEN {with garrulous familiarity) . Here’s the whiskey. 
It’ll be lunch-time soon. Will I call your father and Mister 
Jamie, or will you? 

EDMUND {without looking up from his book). You do it. 

CATHLEEN. It’s a wouder your father wouldn’t look at 
his watch once in a while. He’s a divil for making the 
meals late, and then Bridget curses me as if I was to blame. 
But he’s a grand handsome man, if he is old. You’ll never 
see the day you’re as good-looking — nor Mister Jamie, 
either. {She chuckles.) I’ll wager Mister Jamie wouldn’t 

44 



miss the time to stop work and have his drop of whiskey if 
he had a watch to his name’ 

EDMUiro (gives up trying to ignore her and gnns). You win 
that one. 

CATHLEEN And here’s another I’d win, that you’re 
making me call them so you can sneak a dnnk before they 
come. 

EDMUND Well, I hadn’t thought of that — 

CATHLEEN Oh no, not you* Butter wouldn’t melt in 
your mouth, I suppose. 

EDMUND. But now you suggest it — 

CATHLEEN (suddenly primly virtuous) I’d never suggest a 
man or a woman touch dnnk. Mister Edmund. Sure 
didn’t It kill an uncle of nune in the old country. (Relent- 
ing.) Still, a drop now and then is no harm when you’re 
m low spmts, or have a bad cold. 

EDMUND. Thanks for handing me a good excuse. (Then 
with forced casucdruss ) You’d better call my mother, too. 

CATHLEEN. What for? She’s always on time without 
any calling. God bless her, she has some consideration for 
the help. 

EDMUND. She’s been taking a nap. 

CATHLEEN. She Wasn’t asleep when I finished my work 
upstairs a while back. She was lying down in the spare 
room with her eyes wide open. She’d a terrible headache, 
she said. 

EDMUND (kis casualness more forced). Oh well then, just 
call my father. 

CATHLEEN (goes to tiie screen door, gnmbUng good-naiuredfy). 

45 



No wonder my feet kill me each mght. I won’t walk out 
m this heat and get sunstroke. I’ll call from the porch. 

[She goes out on the side porch^ letting the screen door slam 
behind her^ and disappears on her way to the front 
porch A moment later she is heard shouting ) 

Mister Tyrone* Mister Jamie! It’s time* 

{Edmund^ who has been staring fnghtenedly before him^ 
forgetting his book^ springs to his feet nervously.) 

EDMUND God, what a wench* 

{He grabs the bottle and pours a dnnk^ adds ice water and 
dnnks As he does so, he hears someone coming in the 
front door. He puts the glass hastily on the tray and 
sits down again, opening his book Jamie comes in 
from the front parlour, his coat over his arm. He has 
taken off collar and tie and carries them in his hand 
He IS wiping sweat from his forehead with a hand- 
kerchief Edmund looks up as if his reading was 
interrupted. Jamie takes one look at the bottle and 
glasses and smiles cynically.) 

JAMIE. Sneaking one, eh? Cut out the bluff, Kid. 
You’re a rottener actor than I am 

EDMUND {gnns). Yes, I grabbed one while the going was 
good. 

JAMIE {puts a hand affectionately on his shoulder). That’s 
better. Why kid me^ We’re pals, aren’t we^ 

EDMUND. I wasn’t sure it was you coming. 

JAMIE. I made the Old Man look at his watch, I was 
halfway up the walk when Gathleen burst into song Our 
wild lush lark* She ought to be a train announcer. 

EDMUND. That’s what drove me to drink. Why don’t 
you sneak one while you’ve got a chance? 

46 



JAMIE. I was tbinking of that httle thing {He goes 
quickly to the window at ngkt.) The Old Man was tallHng 
to old Captain Turner. Yes, he’s stdl at it. {He comes back 
and takes a dnnk ) And now to cover up from his eagle eye. 
{He memorizes the level in the bottle after every dnnk. He 
measures two dnnks of water and pours them in the whiskey bottle 
and shakes it up ) There. That fixes it {He pours water in 
the glass and sets it on the table by Edmund ) And here’s the 
water you’ve been dnnkmg. 

EDMUND Fme I You don’t think it will fool him, do you? 

JAMIE. Maybe not, but he can’t prove it {Putting on his 
collar and tie) 1 liope he doesn’t forget lunch hstemng to 
himself talk. I’m hungry. {He sits across the table from Ed- 
mund — imtably ) That’s what I hate about working down 
in front. He puts on an act for every damned fool that 
comes along. 

EDMUND {gloomily). You’re in luck to be hungry. The 
way I feel I don’t care if I ever eat again. 

JAMIE {gives km a glance of concern) Listen, Kid. You 
know me. I’ve never lectured you, but Doctor Hardy was 
nght when he told you to cut out the redeye. 

EDMUND. Oh, I’m going to after he hands me the bad 
news this afternoon. A few before then won’t make any 
difference. 

JAMIE {hesiiates — then slowly). I’m glad you’ve got your 
mind prepared for bad news It won’t be such a jolt {He 
catches Edmund stanng at him.) I mean, it’s a cinch you’re 
really sick, and it would be wrong dope to kid yourself. 

EDMUND {disturbed). I’m not I know how rotten I feel, 
and the fever and chills I get at mght are no joke. I think 
Doctor Hardy’s last guess was nght. It must be the 
damned malana come back on me. 

47 



JAMIE. Maybe, but don’t be too sure. 

EDMUND. Why? What do you think it is^ 

JAMIE. Hell, how would I know? I’m no Doc. {Abruptly.) 
Where’s Mama? 

EDMUND. Upstairs. 

JAMES {looks at him sharply). When did she go up^ 

EDMUND. Oh, about the time I came down to the hedge, 
I guess She said she was going to take a nap. 

JAMIE. You didn’t tell me — 

EDMUND {defensively). Why should P What about iP 
She was tired out. She didn’t get much sleep last mght. 

JAMIE. I know she didn’t. 

{A pause. The brothers avoid looking at each other ) 

EDMUND. That damned foghorn kept me awake, too. 

{Another pause.) 

JAMIE. She’s been upstairs sdone all morning, eh? You 
haven’t seen her? 

EDMUND. No. I’ve been reading here. I wanted to give 
her a chance to sleep. 

JAMIE. Is she coming down to lunch? 

EDMUND. Of course. 

jKusm {dryly). Noofcourseaboutit. She might not want 
any lunch. Or she might start having most of her meals 
alone upstairs. That’s happened, hasn’t it? 

EmiUND {with Jhgklened resentment). Cut it out, Jamie! 
Can’t you think anything but — ? {Persuasively.) You’re 
aU wrong to suspect anything. Cathleen saw her not long 

48 



ago. Mama didn’t tell her she wouldn’t be down to 
lunch 

JAMIE, Then she wasn’t taking a nap^ 

EDMUND. Not right then, but she was lying down, Cath- 
leen said. 

JAMIE. In the spare room? 

EDMUND Yes For Pete’s sake, what of it^ 

JAMIE {bursts out). You damned fool! Why did you 
leave her alone so long? Why didn’t you stick around? 

EDMUND. Because she accused me — and you and Papa 
— of spying on her all the time and not trusting her. She 
made me feel ashamed. I know how rotten it must be for 
her. And she promised on her sacred word of honour — 

JAMIE {with a hitter weariness). You ought to know that 
doesn’t mean anything, 

EDMUND. It does this time* 

JAMIE That’s what we thought the other times. {He 
leans over the table to give his brother"* s arm an affectionate grasp,) 
Listen, Kid, I know you think I’m a cynical bastard, but 
remember I’ve seen a lot more of this game than you have. 
You never knew what was really wrong until you were in 
prep school. Papa and I kept it from you. But I was wise 
ten years or more before we had to tell you. I know the 
game backwards and I’ve been thinking all mormng of the 
way she acted last mght when she thought we were asleep. 
I haven’t been able to think of anything else. And now 
you tell me she got you to leave her alone upstairs all 
mormng. 

EDMUND. She didn’t! You’re crazy! 

JAMIE {placatingly). All right, Ead. Don’t start a battle 

49 



with me. I hope as much as you do I’m crazy. I’ve been 
as happy as hell because I’d really begun to believe that 
this time — {He stops — looking through the front parlour to- 
ward the hall — lowering his voice^ hurriedly ) She’s coming 
downstairs. You win on that I guess I’m a damned sus- 
picious louse. 

{They grow tense with a hopeful^ fearful expectancy, 
Jamie mutters.) 

Damn* I wish I’d grabbed another dnnk. 

EDMUND. Me, too. 

{He coughs nervously and this brings on a real fit of cough- 
ing Jamie glances at him with worried pity Mary 
enters from the front parlour At first one notices no 
change except that she appears to be less nervous^ to 
be more as she was when we first saw her after break- 
fast^ but then one becomes aware that her eyes are 
brighter^ and there is a peculiar detachment in her 
voice and manner^ as if she were a little withdrawn 
from her words and actions.) 

MARY {goes worriedly to Edmund and puts her arm around him ) . 
You mustn’t cough hke that It’s bad for your throat. 
You don’t want to get a sore throat on top of your cold. 

{She kisses him. He stops coughing and gives her a quick 
apprehensive glance^ but if his suspicions are aroused 
her tenderness makes him renounce them and he be- 
lieves what he wants to believe for the moment. On 
the other hand^ Jamie knows after one probing look 
at her that his suspicions are justified. His eyes fall 
to stare at the floor^ his face sets in an expression of 
embittered^ defensive cynicism. Mary goes on^ half 
sitting on the arm of Edmunds chair^ her arm 
around him^ so her face is above and behind his and 
he cannot look into her eyes.) 

50 



But I seem to be always picking on you, telling you don’t 
do this and don’t do that. Forgive me, dear. It’s just that 
I want to take care of you. 

EDMUND. I know, Mama. How about you^ Do you feel 
rested^ 

MARY, Yes, ever so much better I’ve been lying down 
ever since you went out. It’s what I needed after such a 
restless mght I don’t feel nervous now. 

EDMUND. That’s fine. 

{He pats her hand on his shoulder. Jamie gives him a 
stran^e^ almost contemptuous glance^ wondering if 
his brother can really mean thu. Edmund does not 
notice but his mother does ) 

MARY {in a forced teasing tone). Good heavens, how down 
in the mouth you look, Jamie* What’s the matter now? 

JAMIE {without looking at her). Nothing. 

MARY. Oh, I’d forgotten you’ve been working on the 
front hedge. That accounts for your sinking into the 
dumps, doesn’t it? 

JAMIE. If you want to think so. Mama. 

MARY {keeping her tone). Well, that’s the effect it always 
has, isn’t it^ What a big baby you are* Isn’t he, Edmund? 

EDMUND. He’s certainly a fool to care what anyone 
thinks. 

MARY {strangely). Yes, the only way is to make yourself 
not care, (5!^^ catches fame giving her a bitter glance and 
changes the subject.) Where is your father? I heard Cath- 
leen call him. 

EDMUND. Gabbing with old Captain Turner, Jamie 
savs. 

3 ^ 



{Jamie gets up and goes to the windows at rights glad of 
an excuse to turn his back ) 

MARY. IVe told Cathleen time and again she must go 
wherever he is and tell him. The idea of screaming as if 
this were a cheap boardmghouse! 

JAMIE {looking out of the window). She’s down there now. 
{Sneenngly) Interrupting the famous Beautiful Voice* 
She should have more respect. 

MARY {sharply — letting her resentment toward him come out). 
It’s you who should have more respect* Stop sneenng at 
your father! I won’t have it! You oil^ht to be proud 
you’re his son* He may have his faults. Who hasn’t^ But 
he’s worked hard all Ins hfe. He made his way up from 
ignorance and poverty to the top of his profession* Every- 
one else admires him and you should be the last one to 
sneer — you, who, thanks to him, have never had to work 
hard in your hfe! 

{Stung^ Jamie has turned to stare at her with accusing an-^ 
tagomsm. Her eyes waver guiltily and she adds in a 
tone which begins to placate ) 

Remember your father is getting old, Jaime. You really 
ought to show more consideration. 

JAMIE I ought to? 

EDMUND {uneasily). Oh, dry up, Jamie* 

{Jamie looks out of the window again.) 

And, for Pete’s sake, Mama, why jump on Jamie all of a 
sudden? 

MARY {bitterly). Because he’s always sneering at some- 
one else, always looking for the worst weakness in every- 
one. {Then with a strange^ abrupt change to a detached^ mper- 

52 



sonal tone.) But I suppose life has made him hke that, and 
he can’t help it. None of us can help the things hfe has 
done to us. They’re done before you reahze it, and once 
Aey’re done they make you do other things until at last 
everything comes between you and what you’d hke to be, 
and you’ve lost your true self for ever. 

{Edmund is made apprehensive by her strangeness. He 
tries to look up in her eyes but she keeps them averted. 
Jamie turns to her — then looks quickly out of tiie 
window again ) 

JAMEE {dully). I’m hungry. I wish the Old Man would 
get a move on. It’s a rotten tnck the way he keeps meals 
waiting, and then beefs because they’re spoiled. 

MARY {with a resentment that has a quality of being automatic 
and on the surface while inwardly she is indifferent) Yes, it’s 
very trying, Jamie. You don’t know how trying. You 
don’t have to keep house with summer servants who don’t 
care because they know it isn’t a permanent position. The 
really good servants are all with people who have homes 
and not merely summer places. And your fadier won’t 
even pay the wages the best summer help ask. So every 
year I have stupid, lazy greenhorns to deal with. But 
you’ve heard me say this a thousand times. So has he, but 
it goes in one ear and out the other. He thinks money 
spent on a home is mbney wasted. He’s hved too much m 
hotels. Never the best hotels, of course. Second-rate 
hotels. He doesn’t understand a home. He doesn’t feel at 
home in it. And yet, he wants a home. He’s even proud 
of having this shabby place. He lov« it here. {She laughs 
— a hopeless and yet amused laugh ) It’s really fanny, when 
you come to think of it. He’s a peculiar man. 

EDMOND {again attempting uneasily to look up in her eyes). 
What makes you ramble on hke ^t. Mama? 

53 



MARY {quickly casual — patting hs cheek). Why, nothing 
in particular, dear. It is foohsh. 

{As she speaks, Cathleen enters from the back parlour.) 

CATHLEEN {volubly). Lunch is ready. Ma’am. I went 
down to Mister Tyrone, hke you ordered, and he said he’d 
come nght away, but he kept on talking to that man, 
tellin g him of the time when — 

MARY {indifferently). All nght, Cathleen Tell Bridget 
I’m sorry but she’ll have to wait a few minutes until 
Mister Tyrone is here. 

{Cathleen mutters, “Yes, Ma’am,” Gnd goes off through 
the back parlour, grumbling to herself) 

JAMIE. Damn it! Why don’t you go ahead without 
himi* He’s told us to. 

MARY {mth a remote, amused smile) . He doesn’t mean it. 
Don’t you know your father yet’ He’d be so terribly hurt. 

EDMUND {jumps up — as if he was glad of an excuse to leave). 
I’ll make him get a move on. {He goes out on the side porch. 
A moment later he is heard calling from the porch exasperatedly ) 
Hey! Papa! Gome on’ We can’t wait all day’ 

{Mary has risen from the arm of the chair. Her hands 
play restlessly over the table top She does not look at 
Jamie but she feels the cynically appraising glance 
he gyves her face and hands.) 

MARY {tensely). Why do you stare hke that? 

JAMIE. You know. {He turns back to the window.) 

MARY. I don’t know. 

JAMIE. Oh, for God’s sake, do you think you can fool 
me. Mama? I’m not bhnd. 

MARY {looks directly at km now, her face set again in an 

54 


expression of blanks stubborn denial). I don’t know what 
you’re tallang about. 

JAMIE, No? Take a look at your eyes in the mirror! 

EDMUND {coming in from the porch) I got Papa moving 
He’ll be here in a minute. {With a glance from one to the 
other y which his mother avoids — uneasily ) What’s happened^ 
What’s the matter. Mama? 

MARY {disturbed by his comings gives way to a flurry of guilty y 
nervous excitement). Your brother ought to be ashamed of 
himself He’s been insinuating I don’t know what. 

EDMUND {tums^on Jamie), God damn you! 

{He takes a threatening step toward him Jamie turns Ms 
back with a shrug and looks out of the window,) 

MARY {more upset y grabs Edmund^ s arm — excited^). Stop 
this at once, do you hear me^ How dare you use such 
language before me^ {Abruptly her tone and manner change 
to the strange detachment she has shown before,) It’s wrong to 
blame your brother. He can’t help being what the past 
has made him. Any more than your father can. Or you. 
Or I. 

EDMUND {fnghtenedly — with a desperate hoping against hope) , 
He’s a har! It’s a he, isn’t it, Mama? 

MARY {keeping her eyes averted) , What is a he? Now you’re 
talking in riddles like Jamie. ( Then her eyes meet his stnckeUy 
accusing look. She stammers,) Edmund* Don’t! {She looks 
away and her manner instantly regains the quality of strange de- 
tachment — calmly,) There’s your father coming up the 
steps now. I must tell Bridget. 

{She goes through the back parlour Edmund moves slowly 
to his chair. He looks sick and hopeless,) 

JAMIE {from the windowy without looking around). Well? 

55 



I said, in moderation. {He pours his own drink and passes the 
bottle to Jamie^ grumbling.) Itid be a waste of breath men- 
tiomng moderation to you. 

{Ignoring the hint^ Jamie pours a big drink His father 
scowls — then^ giving it up^ resumes his hearty air^ 
raising his glass ) 

Well, here^s health and happiness^ 

{Edmund gives a bitter laugh ) 

EDMUND. Thafsajoke! 

TYRONE. What IS^ 

EDMUND. Nothing. Here’s how. 

{They drink ) 

TYRONE {becoming aware of the atmosphere). What’s the 
matter here^ There’s gloom in the air you could cut with 
a knife. ( Turns on Jamie resentfully.) You got the dnnk you 
were after, didn’t you? Why are you weanng that gloomy 
look on your mug^ 

JAMIE {shrugging his shoulders). You won’t be singing a 
song yourself soon. 

EDMUND. Shut up, Jamie. 

TYRONE {uneasy now — changing the subject). I thought 
lunch was ready. I’m hungry as a hunter. Where is your 
mother? 

MARY {returning through the back parlour^ calls). Here I am. 
{She comes in. She is excited and self-consaous. As she tcdks^ she 
glances everywhere except at any oft^ir faces.) I’ve had to calm 
down Bridget. She’s in a tantrum over your being late 
again, and I don’t blame her. If your lunch is dned up 
jfrom waiting in the oven, she said it served you right, 

57 



you could like it or leave it for all she cared, {With increas- 
ing excitement ) Oh, I’m so sick and tired of pretending this 
IS a home', You won’t help me' You won’t put yourself 
out the least bit! You don’t know how to act in a home! 
You don’t really want one! You never have wanted one — 
never smce the day we were mamed! You should have 
remained a bachelor and hved m second-rate hotels and 
entertained your fiiends m bar-rooms' {She adds strangely, 
as if she were now talking aloud to herself rather than to Tyrone ) 
Then nothing would ever have happened. 

{They stare at her Tyrone knows now. He suddenly 
looks a tired, bitterly sad old man Edmund glances 
at his father and sees that he knows, but he still can- 
not help trying to warn his mother ) 

EDMUND. Mama' Stop talking. Why don’t we go in to 
lunch. 

MARY {starts and at once the quality of unnatural detachment 
settles on her face again She even smiles with an iroracal amuse- 
ment to herself). Yes, it is inconsiderate of me to dig up the 
past, when I know your father and Jamie must be hungry. 
{Putting fur arm around Edmund's shoulder — with a fond solici- 
tude which IS at the same time remote ) I do hope you have an 
appetite, dear. You really must eat more. {Her eyes be- 
come fixed on the whisky glass on the table beside him — sharply.) 
Why is that glass there''* Did you take a drink? Oh, how 
can you be such a fool? Don’t you know it’s the worst 
thing? {She turns on Tyrone) You’re to blame, James 
How could you let him^ Do you want to kill him'* Don’t 
you remember my father^ He wouldn’t stop after he was 
stncken. He said doctors were fools' He thought, like 
you, that whiskey is a good tome! {A look of terror comes 
into her ^es and she stammers) But, of course, there’s 
no comparison at all. I don’t know why I — Forgive me 
for scolding you, James. One small drink won’t hurt 

58 



Edmund. It might be good for him, if it gives him an 
appetite. 

{She pats Edmund^ s cheek playfully^ the strange detach-^ 
ment again tn her manner. He jerks his head away. 
She seems not to notice^ but she moves instinctively 
away ) 

JAMIE {roughly^ to hide his tense nerves). For God’s sake, 
let’s eat. I’ve been working in the damned dirt under the 
hedge all morning. I’ve earned my grub. {He comes 
around behind his father^ not looking at his mother, and grabs 
Edmund^ s shoulder ) Come on. Kid. Let’s put on the feed 
bag. 

{Edmund gets up, keeping his eyes averted from his 
mother. They pass her, heading for the back 
parlour ) 

TYRONE {dully). Yes, you go in with your mother, lads. 
I’ll join you in a second. 

{But they keep on without waiting for her. She looks at 
their hacks with a helpless hurt and, as th^ enter the 
back parlour, starts to follow them. Tyrone^ s eyes 
are on her, sad and condemning. She feels them and 
turns sharply without meeting his stare.) 

MARY. Why do you look at me like that? {Her hands 
flutter up to pat her hair.) Is it my hair coming down^ I 
was so worn out from last mght. I thought I’d better he 
down this mormng. I drowsed off and had a mce re- 
freshing nap. But I’m sure I fixed my hair again when I 
woke up. {Forcing a laugh.) Although, as usual, I couldn’t 
find my glasses {Sharply) Please stop stanng! One would 
think you were accusing me— {Then pleadingly.) James! 
You don’t understand! 

TYRONE {with dull anger). I understand that I’ve been a 

59 



God-damned fool to believe m you' {He walks away from 
her to pour himself a big dnnk.) 

MARY {her face again sets in stubborn defiance). I don’t know 
what you mean by “behevmg in me”. All IVe felt was 
distrust and spying and suspiaon {Then accusingly.) Why 
are you having another dnnk? You never have more than 
one before lunch. {Bitterly ) I know what to expect. You 
will be drunk tomght. Well, it won’t be the first time, will 
It — or the thousandth^ {Again she bursts out pleaimgly ) 
Oh, James, please' You don’t understand! I’m so worried 
about Edmund' I’m so afraid he — 

TYRONE. I don’t want to listen to your excuses, Mary. 

MARY {stnckenlj). Excuses^ You mean—'* Oh, you 
can’t beheve that of me ' Y ou mustn’t beheve that, J ames ' 

( Then slipping away into her strange detachment — quite casually.) 
Shall we not go in to lunch, dear? I don’t want anything 
but I know you’re hungry. 

{He walks slowly to where she stands in the doorwcqy He 
walks like an old man. As he reaches her she bursts 
out piteously ) 

James! I tned so hard' I tned so hard! Pleaise beheve — ! 

TYRONE {moved in spite of himself — helplessly). I suppose 
you did, Mary. {Then gnef-stnckenly) For the love of 
God, why couldn’t you have the strength to keep on? 

MARY {her face setting into that stubborn dental again). I 
don’t know what you’re talkmg about. Have the strength 
to keep on what? 

TYRONE {hopelessly). Never mind. It’s no use now. 

{He moves on and she keeps beside km as thep disappear 
tn the back parlour.) 

CuRTAm 

6o 



ACT TWO, SCENE TWO 

SCENE. The same^ about half an hour later The tray with the 
bottle of whiskey has been removed from the table. The family 
are returning from lunch as the curtain nses, Mary is the 
first to enter from the back parlour. Her husband follows. He 
IS not with her as he was in the similar entrance after break'- 
fast at the opening of Act One. He avoids touching her or 
looking at her There is condemnation in his face^ mingled 
now with the beginning of an old weary ^ helpless resignation. 
Jamie and Edmund follow their father Jamie's face is hard 
with defensive cynicism. Edmund tries to copy this defence 
but without success. He plainly shows he is heartsick as well 
as physically ill. 

Mary is terribly nervous again^ as if the strain of sitting 
through lunch with them had been too much for her Tet at 
the same time^ in contrast to this^ her expression shows more 
of that strange aloofness which seems to stand apart from her 
nerves and the anxieties which harry them. 

She IS talking as she enters — a stream of words that issues 
casually^ in a routine of family conversation^ from her 
mouth. She appears indifferent to the fact that their thoughts 
are not on what she is saying any more than her own are. Als 
she talks ^ she comes to the left of the table and stands^ facing 
fronts one hand fumbling with the bosom of her dress, tiu 
other playing over the table top. Tyrone lights a agar and 
goes to the screen door, staring out. Jamie fills a pipe from 
ajar on top of the bookcase at rear. He lights it as he goes to 
look out of the window at right. Edmund sits in a chair by 
the table, turned half away from his mother so he does not 
have to watch her. 

MARY. It’s no use finding fault with Bridget. She doesn’t 
listen. I can’t threaten her, or she’d threaten she’d leave. 
And she does do her best at times. It’s too bad they seem 

6i 



to be just the times you’re sure to be late, James. Well, 
there’s this consolation: it’s difficult to tell from her cook- 
ing whether she’s doing her best or her worst. {She gives a 
little laugh of detached amusement — indifferently ) Never mind. 
The summer will soon be over, thank goodness. Your 
season will open again and we can go back to second-rate 
hotels and trams. I hate them, too, but at least I don’t 
expect them to be hke a home, and there’s no housekeep- 
ing to worry about. It’s unreasonable to expect Bridget 
or Cathleen to act as if this was a home. They know it 
isn’t as well as we know it. It never has been and it never 
wdl be. 

TYRONE {bitterly zmthout turning around). No, it never can 
be now. But it was once, before you — 

MARY {her face instantly set in blank denied) . Before I what'^ 
{There is a dead silence. She goes on with a return of her detached 
air.) No, no Whatever you mean, it isn’t true, dear It 
was never a home. You’ve always preferred the Club or a 
bar-room. And for me it’s always been as lonely as a dirty 
room in a one-mght stand hotel. In a real home one is 
never lonely. You forget I know from expenence what a 
home IS like. I gave up one to marry you — my father’s 
home. {At once, through an association of ideas she turns to 
Edmund. Her manner becomes tenderly solicitous, but there is the 
strange quality of detachment in it ) I’m worried about you, 
Edmund. You hardly touched a thing at lunch. That’s 
no way to take care of yourself It’s all nght for me not to 
have an appetite. I’ve been growing too fat. But you must 
eat. {Coaxingly maternal.) Promise me you will, dear, for 
my sdee. 

EDMUND {dully) Yes, Mama. 

MARY {pats fns cheek as he tries not to shrink away). That’s 
a good boy. 

{There is another pause of dead silence. Then Ike tele- 
62 



phone in the front hall rings and all of them stiffen 
startledly ) 

TYRONE {hastily). I’ll answer. McGmre said he’d call 
me {He goes out through the frond parlour.) 

MARY {indifferently) McGmre. He must have another 
piece of property on his hst that no one would think of 
buying except your father. It doesn’t matter any more, 
but It’s always seemed to me your father could afford to 
keep on buying property but never to give me a home. 
{She stops to listen as Tyrone^ s voice is heard from the hall.) 

TYRONE. Hello. {With forced heartiness.) Oh, how are 
you, Doctor^ 

{Jamie turns from the mndow. Marfs fingers play more 
rapidly on the table top. Tyrone's voice^ trying to 
conceal^ reveals that he is hearing bad news.) 

I see — {Hurriedly ) Well, you’ll explain aU about it when 
you see him this afternoon Yes, he’ll be in without fail 
Four o’clock. I’ll drop m myself and have a talk with you 
before that. I have to go uptown on business, anyway 
Goodbye, Doctor. 

EDMUND {dully). That didn’t sound hke glad tidings. 

{Jamie gives him a pitying glance — then looks out of the 
mndow again. Marfs face is terrified and her 
hands flutter distractedly Tyrone comes in. The 
strain is obvious in his casualness as he addresses 
Edmund.) 

TYRONE. It was Doctor Hardy. He wants you to be 
sure and see him at four. 

EDMUND {dully). What did he say? Not that I give a 
damn now. 

MARY {bursts out excitedly) I wouldn’t believe him if he 

63 



swore on a stack of Bibles You mustn’t pay attention to 
a word he says, Edmund. 

TYRONE {sharply) . Mary! 

MARY {more exatedly). Oh, we all reahze why you hke 
him, James* Because he’s cheap' But please don’t try to 
tell me' I know all about Doctor Hardy Heaven knows 
I ought to after all these years He’s an ignorant fool' 
There should be a law to keep men hke him from practis- 
ing. He hasn’t the shghtest idea — When you’re in agony 
and half msane, he sits and holds your hand and dehvers 
sermons on will-power' {Her face u dr aim in an expression of 
intense suffering by the memory For the rnbment, she loses dl 
caution With bitter hatred) He dehberately humihates you' 
He makes you beg and plead' He treats you hke a 
cnimnal! He understands nothing' And yet it was exactly 
the same type of cheap quack who first gave you the medi- 
cine— and you never knew what it was until too late' 
{Passionately ) I hate doctors' They’ll do anything — any- 
thing to keep you coming to them. They’ll sell their souls' 
What’s more, they’ll sell yours, and you never know it till 
one day you find yourself in hell' 

EDMUND. Mama' For God’s sake, stop talking. 

TYRONE {shakenly). Yes, Mary, it’s no time — 

MARY {suddenly is overcome by gmlty confusion — stammers). 
I — Forgive me, dear. You’re nght. It’s useless to be 
angry now. ( There is again a pause of dead silence. When she 
speaks agam, her face has cleared and is calm, and the qudity of 
uncanny detachment is in her voice and manner.) I’m gomg up- 
stairs for a moment, if you’ll excuse me. I have to fix my 
hair. {She adds smilingly.) That is if I can find my glasses. 
I’ll be nght down. 

TYRONE (or she Starts through the doomey — pleading and 
rebuking), Mary! 





MARY {turns to stare at him calmly). Yes, dear? What is it? 

TYRONE {helplessly). Nothing. 

MARY {with a strange derisive smile) You’re welcome to 
come up and watch me if you’re so suspicious 

TYRONE. As if that could do any good^ You’d only 
postpone It. And I’m not your jailor. This isn’t a prison. 

MARY. No. I know you can’t help thinking it’s a home. 
{She adds quickly with a detached contrition ) I’m sorry, dear. 
I don’t mean to be bitter. It’s not your fault. 

{Sh^ turns and disappears through the back parlour. The 
three in the room remain silent It is as if they were 
waiting until she got upstairs before speaking.) 

JAMIE {cynically brutal). Another shot in the arm! 

EDMUND {angrily). Cut out that kind of talk^ 

TYRONE. Yes* Hold your foul tongue and your rotten 
Broadway loafer’s hngo* Have you no pity or decency? 
{Losing his temper.) You ought to be kicked out m the 
gutter* But if I did it, you know damned well who’d weep 
and plead for you, and excuse you and complain till I let 
you come back. 

JAMIE {a spasm of pain crosses his face). Chnst, don’t I 
know that^ No pity? I have all the pity in the world for 
her. I understand what a hard game to beat she’s up 
against ™ which is more than you ever have! My hngo 
didn’t mean I had no feehng. I was merely putting 
bluntly what we all know, and have to hve with now, 
again. {Bitterly.) The cures are no damned good except 
for a while. The truth is there is no cure and we’ve been 
saps to hope — {Cynically.) They never come back! 

EDMUND {scornfully parodying kis brother's cymasm). They 
never come back! Everything is in the bag! It’s all a 

E 65 



frame-up! We’re all fall guys and suckers and we can’t 
beat the game! {Disdamjully.) Christ, if I felt the way you 
do—! 

JAMIE {stung for a moment — then shrugging hts shoulders, 
dryly). I thought you did Your poetry isn’t very cheery. 
Nor the stuff you read and claim you admire. {He indicates 
the smart bookcase at rear ) Your pet with the unpronounce- 
able name, for example. 

EDMUND. Nietzsche. You don’t know what you’re talk- 
ing ^bout. You haven’t read him. 

JAMIE. Enough to know It’s a lot of bunk! 

TYRONE. Shut up, both of you' There’s htde choice 
between the philosophy you learned from Broadway 
loafers, and the one Edmund got fitim his books They’re 
both rotten to the core. You’ve both flouted the faith you 
were bom and brought up m — the one tme faith of the 
Cathohc Church — and your demal has brought nothing 
but self-destruction! 

{Hu two sons stare at him contemptuously They forget 
timr quarrel and are as one against him on this usue.) 

EDMUND. That’s the bunk. Papa' 

JAAOE. We don’t pretend, at any rate. {Caustically.) I 
don’t notice you’ve worn any holes m the knees of your 
pants going to Mass. 

TYRONE. It’s true I’m a bad Catholic in the observance, 
God forgive me. But I beheve! {Angrily ) And you’re a 
liar! I may not go to church but every night and monung 
of my life I get on my knees and pray! 

EDMUND {bitingly). Did you pray for Mama? 

TYRONE. I did. I’ve prayed to God these many years 
for her. 


66 



EDMUND. Then Nietzsche must be nght. {He quotes from 
Thus Spake Z°'ratkustra.) “God is dead: of His pity for 
man hath God died.” 

TYRONE {ignores this) If your mother had prayed, too — 
She hasn’t demed her feith, but she’s forgotten it, until 
now there’s no strength of the spirit left m her to fight 
against her curse {Then dully resigned) But what’s the 
good of talk^ We’ve lived with this before and now we 
must again. There’s no help for it. {Bitterly.) Only I 
wish she hadn’t led me to hope this time. By God, I never 
will again! 

EDMUND. That’s a rotten thing to say. Papa' {Defiantly.) 
Well, I’ll hope' She’s just started. It can’t have got a 
hold on her yet. She can stiU stop. I’m gomg to talk to 
her. 

JAMIE {shrugs his shoulders). You can’t talk to her now. 
She’ll hsten but she won’t listen. She’ll be here but she 
won’t be here. You know the way she gets. 

TYRONE Yes, that’s the way the poison acts on her 
always Every day from now on, there’ll be the same 
drifting away from us until by the end of each mght — 

EDMUND {miserably). Cut it out. Papal {He jumps up 
from his chair.) I’m going to get Pressed. {Bitterly, as he 
goes.) I’ll make so much noise she can’t suspect I’ve come 
to spy on her. {He disappears through the front parlour and can 
be heard stamping noisily upstairs.) 

JAMIE {cfier a pause). What did Doc Hardy say about 
the Kid? 

TYRONE {dully). It’s what you thought. He’s got 
consumption. 

JAMIE. God damn it! 


67 



TYRONE. There is no possible doubt, he said. 

JAMIE. He’ll have to go to a sanatorium. 

TYRONE Yes, and the sooner the better, Hardy said, for 
him and everyone around him He claims that in six 
months to a year Edmund will be cured, if he obeys orders 
{He sighs — gloomily and resentfully) I never thought a 
child of mine — It doesn’t come from my side of the family 
There wasn’t one of us that didn’t have lungs as strong 
as an ox. 

JAMIE Who gives a damn about that part of it! Where 
does Hardy want to send him? 

TYRONE. That’s what I’m to see him about. 

JAMIE. Well, for God’s sake, pick out a good place and 
not some cheap dump* 

TYRONE {stung). I’ll send him wherever Hardy thinks 
best! 

JAMIE. Well, don’t give Hardy your old over-the-hilk- 
to-the-poorhouse song about taxes and mortgages. 

TYRONE I’m no milhonaire who can throw money 
away! Why shouldn’t I teU Hardy the truth? 

JAMIE. Because he’ll think you want him to pick a cheap 
dump, and because he’ll know it isn’t the truth — especi- 
ally if he hears afterwards you’ve seen McGuire and let 
that flannel-mouth, gold-brick merchant sting you with 
another piece of bum property! 

TYRONE {fmously). Keep your nose out of my business! 

JAMIE. This is Edmund’s business What I’m afraid of 
IS, with your Irish bog-trotter idea that consumption is 
fatal, you’ll figure it would be a waste of money to spend 
any more than you can help. 

68 



TYRONE. You liar! 


JAMIE All nght. Prove I’m a liar. That’s what I want. 
That’s why I brought it up. 

TYRONE (Jns rage still smouldering). I have every hope 
Edmund will be cured. And keep your dirty tongue off 
Ireland! You’re a fine one to sneer, with the map of it on 
your face! 

JAMIE. Not after I wash my face. {Then before his father 
can react to this insult to the Old Sod, he adds dryly, shrugging fas 
shoulders.) Well, I’ve said all I have to say. It’s up to you. 
{Abruptly ) What do you want me to do this afternoon, 
now you’re going uptown? I’ve done all I can do on the 
hedge until you cut more of it. You don’t want me to go 
ahead with your clippmg, I know that. 

TYRONE. No. You’d get it crooked, as you get every- 
thing else. 

JAMIE. Then I’d better go uptown with Edmund. The 
bad news coming on top of what’s happened to Mama 
may hit him hard. 

TYRONE {forgetting his quarrel). Yes, go with him, Jamie. 
Keep up his spints, if you can. {He adds caustically.) If 
you can without making it an excuse to get drunk! 

JAMIE. What would I use for moneys The last I heard 
they were still selling booze, not giving it away, {He starts 
for the front-parlour doorwqp.) I’ll get dressed. 

{He stops in the doorway as he sees his mother approaching 
from the hall, and moves aside to let her come in Her 
eyes look brighter, and her manner is more detached. 
This change becomes more marked as the scene goes 
on.) 


69 



MARY {vaguely). You haven’t seen my glasses anywhere, 
have you, Jamie^ 

{She doesn’t look at him. He glances away^ ignoring her 
question but she doesrCt seem to expect an answer. 
She comes forward^ addressing her husband without 
looking at him.) 

You haven’t seen them, have you, James^ 

{Behind her Jamie disappears through the front parlour ) 

TYRONE {turns to look out of the screen door). No, Mary. 

MARY. What’s the matter with Jamie^ Have you been 
nagging at him agam^ You shouldn’t treat him with such 
contempt all the time. He’s not to blame. If he’d been 
brought up in a real home, I’m sure he would have been 
different. {She comes to the windows at right — lightly.) 
You’re not much of a weather prophet, dear See how 
hazy It’s getting. I can hardly see the other shore. 

TYRONE {trying to speak naturally). Yes, I spoke too soon. 
We’re in for another mght of fog, I’m afraid. 

MARY. Oh, well, I won’t mind it tomght. 

TYRONE. No, I don’t imagine you will, Mary. 

MARY {flashes a glance at him — after a pause). I don’t see 
Jamie going down to the hedge. Where did he go? 

TYRONE. He’s going with Edmund to the Doctor’s. He 
went up to change his clothes. {Then^ glad of an excuse to 
leave her.) I’d better do the same or I’ll be late for my 
appointment at the Club. 

{He makes a move toward the front-parlour doorway^ but 
with a swift impulsive movement she reaches out and 
clasps his arm.) 

MARY {a note of pleading in her voice) ^ Don’t go yet, dear. 

70 



I don’t want to be alone. {Hastily.) I mean, you have 
plenty of tune. You know you boast you can dress m one- 
tenth the tune it takes the boys. ( Vaguely.) There is some- 
thing I wanted to say. What is it^ I’ve forgotten. I’m 
glad Jamie is going uptown. You didn’t give him any 
money, I hope. 

TVRONE. I did not. 

MARY. He’d only spend it on drink and you know what 
a vile, poisonous tongue he has when he’s drunk Not that 
I would mind anything he said tomght, but he always 
manages to drive you into a rage, espeaally if you’re 
drunk, too, as you will be. 

TYRONE {resentjully). I won’t. I never get drunk. 

MARY {teasing indifferently). Oh, I’m sure you’ll hold it 
well. You always have. It’s hard for a stranger to teU, 
but after thirty-five years of marriage — 

TYRONE. I’ve never missed a performance in my life. 
That’s the proof {Then bitterly.) If I did get drunk it is 
not you who should blame me. No man has ever had a 
better reason. 

MARY. Reasoni* What reason? You always drink too 
much when you go to the Club, don’t you? Particularly 
when you meet McGuire. He sees to that. Don’t think 
I’m finding fault, dear. You must do as you please. I 
won’t mmd. 

TYRONE. I know you won’t. {He turns toward the Jront 
parlour, anxious to escape.) I’ve got to get dressed. 

MARY {again she reaches out and grasps his arm — pleadingly ) . 
No, please wait a little while, dear. At leasts until one of 
the boys comes down. You will all be leavmg me so soon. 

TYRONE {mth bitter sadness). It’s you who are leavmg us, 
Mary. 


71 



MARY. I? That’s a Silly thing to say, James How could 
I leave? There is nowhere I could go. Who would I go to 
see? I have no friends. 

TYRONE It’s your own fault — {He stops and sighs help- 
lessly —persuasively.) There’s surely one thing you can do 
this afternoon that will be good for you, Mary. Take a 
dnve in the automobile. Get away from the house. Get 
a little sun and fresh air. {Injuredly ) I bought the auto- 
mobile for you. You know I don’t hke the damned things. 
I’d rather walk any day, or take a trolley. {With growing 
resentment ) I had it here waiting for you when you came 
back from the sanatonum. I hoped it would give you 
pleasure and distract your mind You used to nde in 
It every day, but you’ve hardly used it at all lately. I paid 
a lot of money I couldn’t afford, and there’s the chauffeur 
I have to board and lodge and pay high wages whether 
he dnves you or not. {Bitterly ) Waste! The same old 
waste that will land me m the poorhouse m my old age' 
What good did it do you? I might as well have thrown the 
money out of the wmdow. 

MARY {mth detached calm). Yes, it was a waste of money, 
James. You shouldn’t have bought a secondhand auto- 
mobile. You were swindled again as you always are, be- 
cause you insist on secondhand bargains in everything. 

TYRONE. It’s one of the best makes' Everyone says it’s 
better than any of the new ones! 

MARY {ignoring this). It was another waste to hire 
Smythe, who was only a helper in a garage and had never 
been a chauffeur. Oh, I realize his wages eure less than a 
real chauffeur’s, but he more than makes up for that, Pm 
sure, by the graft he gets from the garage on repair bills. 
Something is always wrong. Smythe sees to that, I’m 
afraid 

TYRONE. I don’t beheve it! He may not be a fancy mil- 

72 



lionaire's flunkey but he^s honest! YouVe as bad as Jamie, 
suspecting everyone! 

MARY. You mustn't be oflFended, dear. I wasn't of- 
fended when you gave me the automobile I knew you 
didn’t mean to humihate me. I knew that was the way 
you had to do everything. I was grateful and touched. I 
knew buying the car was a hard thing for you to do, and 
It proved how much you loved me, in your way, especially 
when you couldn’t really beheve it would do me any good. 

TYRONE. Mary* {He suddenly hugs her to him — brokenly.) 
Dear Mary* For the love of God, for my sake and the 
boys’ sake and your own, won’t you stop now? 

MARY {stammers in guilty confusion for a second) , I — James! 
Please* {Her strange ^ stubborn defence comes back instantly.) 
Stop what^ What are you talking about? 

{He lets his arm fall to his side brokenly. She impulsively 
puts her arm around him ) 

James* We’ve loved each other! We always will! Let’s 
remember only that, and not try to understand what we 
cannot understand, or help things that cannot be helped 
— the things life has done to us we cannot excuse or 
explain. 

TYRONE {as if he hadrdt heard — bitterly). You won’t even 
try^ 

MARY {her arms drop hopelessly and she turns away — with de- 
tachment). Try to go for a dnve this afternoon, you mean? 
Why, yes, if you wish me to, although it makes me feel 
lonelier than if I stayed here There is no one I can invite 
to drive with me, and I never know where to tell Smythe 
to go. If there was a friend’s house where I could drop in 
and laugh and gossip awhile. But, of course, there isn’t 
There never has been. {Her manner becoming more and more 

73 



remote.) At the Convent I had so many fhends. Girls 
whose fanuhes hved in lovely homes I used to visit them 
and they’d visit me m my father’s home But, naturally, 
after I married an actor — you know how actors were 
considered in those days — a lot of them gave me the cold 
shoulder. And then, right after we were married, there 
was the scandal of that woman who had been your mis- 
tress, smng you. From then on, all my old friends either 
pitied me or cut me dead. I hated the ones who cut me 
much less than the pitiers. 

TYRONE {with guilty resentment). For God’s sake, don’t 
dig up what’s long forgotten If you’re that far gone m the 
past already, when it’s only the beginning of the afternoon, 
what will you be tomght? 

MARY {stares at him defiantly now). Come to think of it, I 
do have to drive uptown. There’s something I must get at 
the drugstore. 

TYRONE {bitterly scornful) Leave it to you to have some 
of the stuff hidden, and prescnptions for more' I hope 
you’ll lay in a good stock ahead so we’U never have another 
night like the one when you screeimed for it, and ran out of 
the house m your mghtdress half crazy, to try and throw 
yourself off the dock! 

MARY {tries to Ignore this). I have to get tooth powder 
and toilet soap and cold cream — {She breaks downpihably.) 
James! You mustn’t remember! You mustn’t humihate 
me so! 

TYRONE {ashamed). I’m sorry. Forgive me, Mary! 

MARY {defensively detached agairi). It doesn’t matter. 
Nothing like that ever happened. You must have dreamed 
it. 

{He stares at her hopelessly. Her voice seems to drift far- 
ther and farther away.) 

74 



I was so healthy before Edmund was bom. You remem- 
ber, James. There wasn’t a nerve m my body. Even 
travelhng with you season after season, with week after 
week of one-mght stands, in trains without Pullmans, in 
dirty rooms of filthy hotels, eating bad food, bearmg 
children in hotel rooms, I still kept healthy But bearing 
Edmund was the last straw. I was so sick afterwards, and 
that Ignorant quack of a cheap hotel doctor — All he 
knew was I was m pam. It was easy for him to stop the 
pam. 

TYRONE. Mary! For God’s sake, forget the past' 

MARY {mth strange objective calm). Why? How can P 
The past is the present, isn’t iP It’s the future, too. We 
all try to he out of that but life won’t let us. {Going on) I 
blame only myself. I swore after Eugene died I would 
never have another baby. I was to blame for his death. 
If I hadn’t left him with my mother to join you on the 
road, because you wrote telhng me you missed me and 
were so lonely, Jamie would never have been allowed, 
when he still had measles, to go m the baby’s room. {Her 
face hardening.) I’ve always beheved Jamie did it on pur- 
pose. He was jealous of the baby. He hated him. {As 
Tyrone starts to protest.) Oh, I know Jamie was only seven, 
but he was never stupid. He’d been warned it might kill 
the baby. He knew. I’ve never been able to forgive him 
for that. 

TYRONE {mth bitter sadness). Are you back with Eugene 
now? Can’t you let our dead baby rest in peace'^ 

MARY {as if she hadn’t heard him). It was my fault I 
should have insisted on staying with Eugene and not have 
let you persuade me to join you, just because I loved you. 
Above all, I shouldn’t have let you insist I have another 
baby to take EugenPs place, because you thought that 
would make me forget his death. I knew fi:om experience 

75 



by then that children should have homes to be born in, if 
they are to be good children, and women need homes, if 
they are to be good mothers. I was afraid all the time I 
earned Edmund. I knew somethmg temble would hap- 
pen. I knew I’d proved by the way I’d left Eugene that 
I wasn’t worthy to have another baby, and that God 
would punish me if I did I never should have borne 
Edmund. 

TYRONE {with an unea^ glance through the front parlour) 
Mary' Be careful with your talk If he heard you he 
might think you never wanted him. He’s feehng bad 
enough already without — 

MARY {violently). It’s a he' I did want him' More than 
anything in the world' You don’t understand' I meant, 
for his sake. He hzis never been happy. He never will be. 
Nor healthy. He was bom nervous and too sensitive, and 
that’s my fault And now, ever since he’s been so sick I’ve 
kept remembering Eugene and my father and I’ve been 
so fiightened and guilty — {Then, catching herself, with an 
instate change to stubborn denial ) Oh, I know it’s foohsh to 
imagme dreadful thmgs when there’s no reason for it. 
After all, everyone has colds and gets over them. 

( Tyrone stares at her and sighs helplessly. He turns away 
toward the front parlour and sees Edmund coming 
down the stairs in the hall.) 

TYRONE {sharply, in a low voice). Here’s Edmund. For 
God’s saike try and be yourself— at least until he goes! 
You can do that much for him' 

{He wcats, forcing kts face into a pleasantly paternal ex- 
pression. She waits fnghtenedly, seized again by a 
nervous panic, her hands fluttering over the bosom of 
her dress, up to her throat and hair, mth a distracted 
aimlessness. Then, as Edmund approaches the door- 
76 



way^ she cannot face him She goes swiftly away to 
the windows at left and stares out with her back to 
the front parlour Edmund enters. He has changed 
to a ready-made blue serge suit, high stiff collar and 
tie, black shoes.) 

( With an actofs heartiness ) Well^ You look spick and span, 
I’m on my way up to cliange, too {He starts to pass him.) 

EDMUND {dryly). Wait a minute, Papa. I hate to bring 
up disagreeable topics, but there’s the matter of carfare. 
I’m broke. 

TYRONE {starts automatically on a customary lecture). You’ll 
always be broke until you learn the value — {Checks himself 
guiltily, looking at his son^s sick face with worried pity ) But 
you’ve been learning, lad You worked hard before you 
took ill You’ve done splendidly. I’m proud of you. 

{He pulls out a small roll of bills from ku pants pocket and 
carefully selects oru. Edmund takes it. He glances 
at it and his face expresses astonishment His father 
again reacts customarily — sarcastically.) 

Thank you. {He quotes.) *'How sharper than a serpent’s 
tooth It is — ” 

EDMUND. ‘‘To have a thankless child ” I know. Give 
me a chance, Papa. I’m knocked speechless. This isn’t a 
dollar. It’s a ten spot 

TYRONE {embarrassed by his generosity). Put it in your 
pocket. You’ll probably meet some of your friends up- 
town and you can’t hold your end up and be sociable with 
nothing m your jeans. 

EDMUND. You meant It? Gosh, thank you. Papa. {He is 
genuinely pleased and grateful for a moment — then he stares at hs 
father^ s face mth uneasy suspicion.) But why aU of a sud- 
den — ? {Cynical^.) Did Doc Hardy tell you I was going 

77 



to die^ {Then he sees his father is bitterly hurt.) No! That’s 
a rotten crack. I was oi^y kidding. Papa. {He puts an arm 
around his father impulsively and gives him an affectionate hug ) 
I’m very grateful. Honest, Papa 

TYRONE {touched^ returns his hug). You’re welcome, lad. 

MARY {suddenly turns to them in a confused panic of frightened 
anger). I won’t have it* {She stamps her foot) Do you hear, 
Edmund! Such morbid nonsense* Saying you’re going 
to die* It’s the books you read* Nothing but sadness and 
death* Your father shouldn’t allow you to have them. 
And some of the poems you’ve written yourself are even 
worse* You’d think you didn’t want to hve! A boy of 
your age with everything before him* It’s just a pose you 
get out of books* You’re not really sick at all! 

TYRONE. Mary* Hold your tongue* 

MARY {instantly changing to a detached tone). But, James, 
it’s absurd of Edmund to be so gloomy and make such a 
great to-do about nothing. ( Turning to Edmund but avoiding 
his eyes — teasingly affectionate ) Never mind, dear. I’m on 
to you. {She comes to him ) You want to be petted and 
spoiled and made a fuss over, isn’t that it? You’re still 
such a baby. 

{She puts her arm around him and hugs him. He remains 
rigid and unyielding. Her voice begins to tremble ) 

But please don’t carry it too far, dear. Don’t say horrible 
things I know it’s foohsh to take them seriously, but I 
can’t help it. You’ve got me — so frightened. 

{She breaks and hides her face on his shoulder^ sobbing. 
Edmund is moved in spite of himself He pats her 
shoulder xvith an awkward tenderness ) 

EDMUNB. Don’t, mother {His eyes meet his father^s.) 

TYRONE {huskily -- clutching at hopeless hope). Maybe if 

78 



you asked your mother now what you said you were going 
to— {He fumbles Tmfhhts watch.) By God, look at the time! 
ril have to shake a leg 

{He hurries away through the front parlour Mary lifts her 
head. Her manner is again one of detached motherly 
solicitude. She seems to have forgotten the tears which 
are still in her eyes ) 

MARY How do you feel, dear^ {She feels his forehead.) 
Your head is a httle hot, but thaf s just from going out in 
the sun You look ever so much better than you did this 
mormng. {Taking his hand.) Come and sit down. You 
mustn’t stand on your feet so much You must leam to 
husband your strength {She gets him to sit and she sits side^ 
ways on the arm of his chair ^ an arm around his shoulder^ so he 
cannot meet her eyes.) 

EDMUND {starts to blurt out the appeal he now feels is quite 
hopeless). Listen, Mama — 

MARY {interrupting quickly). Now, now! Don’t talk. 
Lean back and rest. {Persuasively.) You know, I think it 
would be much better for you if you stayed home this 
afternoon and let me take care of you. It’s such a tiring 
trip uptown in the dirty old trolley on a hot day like this. 
I’m sure you’d be much better off here with me. 

EDMUND {dully). You foiget I have an appomtment with 
Hardy. {Trying again to get his appeal started.) Listen, 
Mama — 

MARY {quickly). You can telephone and say you don’t 
feel well enough. {Excitedly ) It’s simply a waste of time 
and money seeing lum. He’ll only tell you some he. He’ll 
pretend he’s found something serious the matter because 
that’s his bread and butter. {She gives a hard sneering little 
laugh.) The old idiot* All he knows about medicine is to 
look solemn and preach will-powerl 

79 



{trying to catch her eyes). Mama' Please listen' I 
want to ask you something' You — you’re only just 
started. You can still stop. You’ve got the will-power! 
We’U all help you. I’ll do anything' Won’t you, Mama'* 

MARY {stammers pleadingly). Please don’t — talk about 
things you don’t understand' 

EDMUND {dully). All right, I give up I knew it was no 
use. 

MARY {in blank denial now). Anyway, I don’t know what 
you’re referring to. But I do know you should be the last 
one — Right after I returned from the sanatonum, you 
began to be ill. The doctor there had warned me I must 
have peace at home with nothmg to upset me, and all I’ve 
done is worry about you ( Then distractedly ) But that’s no 
excuse' I’m only trying to explain It’s not an excuse' 
{She hugs him to her — pleadingly ) Promise me, dear, you 
won’t beheve I made you an excuse. 

EDMUND {bitterly). What else can I beheve'* 

MARY {slowly takes her arm away — her manner remote and 
objective again). Yes, I suppose you can’t help suspecting 
that. 

EDMUND {ashamed but still bitter). What do you expect'* 

MARY. Nothing, I don’t blame you. How could you be- 
heve me — when I can’t beheve myself? I’ve become such 
a har. I never hed about anythmg once upon a time. 
Now I have to he, especially to myself. But how can you 
understand, when I don’t myself. I’ve never understood 
anything about it, except that one day long ago I found I 
could no longer call my soul my own {She pauses — then 
lowering her voice to a strange tone of whispered confidence.) But 
some day, dear, I will find it again — some day when 
you’re all well, and I see you healthy and happy and suc- 
cessful, and I don’t have to feel guilty any more — some 

8o 



day when the Blessed Virgin Mary forgives me and gives 
me back the faith in Her love and pity I used to have in 
my convent days, and I can pray to Her again — when 
She sees no one in the world can beheve in me even for a 
moment any more, then She will beheve in me, and with 
Her help it will be so easy. I will hear myself scream with 
agony, and at the same time I will laugh because I will be 
so sure of myself. ( Then as Edmund remains hopelessly silent, 
she adds sadly ) Of course, you can’t believe that, either. 
{She rises from the arm of his chair and goes to stare out of the xmn* 
dows at right with her back to him — casually ) Now I think 
of it, you might as well go uptown I forgot I’m taking 
a drive. I have to go to the drugstore You would hardly 
want to go there with me. You’d be so ashamed. 

EDMUND {brokenly). Mama* Don’t* 

MARY. I suppose you’ll divide that ten dollars your 
father gave you with Jamie. You always divide with each 
other, don’t you^ Like good sports. Well, I know what 
he’ll do with his share Get drunk someplace where he 
can be with the only kind of woman he understands or 
likes. {She turns to him, pleading fnghtenedly.) Edmund! 
Promise me you won’t dnnk* It’s so dangerous! You 
know Doctor Hardy told you — 

EDMUND {bitterly). I thought he was an old idiot. 

MARY {piUfally). Edmund! 

{Jamie^s voice is heard from the front hall, Gome on, 
Ead, let’s beat it. Marfs manner at once be- 
comes detached again ) 

Go on, Edmimd. Jamie’s waiting. {She goes to the front- 
parlour doorway.) There comes your father downstairs, too* 

{Tyrone* s voice calls. Come on, Edmund.) 

MARY {Jiisses him with detached affection). Goodbye, dear. 

F 8z 



If you’re coming home for dinner, try not to be late. And 
tell your father. You know what Bridget is. 

{He turns and hurries away. Tyrone calls from the hall^ 
Goodbye, Mary, and then Jamie^ Goodbye, 
Mama. She calls back,) 

Goodbye. 

{The front screen door is heard closing after them. She 
comes and stands by the table^ one hand drumming 
on ity the other fluttering up to pat her hair. She 
stares about the room with frightened^ forsaken eyes 
and whispers to herself) 

It’s so lonely here. {Then her face hardens into bitter self 
contempt.) You’re lying to yourself again. You wanted to 
get nd of them. Their contempt and disgust aren’t 
pleasant company You’re glad they’re gone {She gives a 
little despairing laugh ) Then Mother of God, why do I feel 
so lonely? 

Curtain. 


82 



ACT THREE 


SCENE. The same. It is aromdhalf~past six in the evening. Dusk 
ts gathering in the living-room^ an early dusk due to the fog 
which has rolled in from the Sound and is like a white cur- 
tain drawn down outside the windows. From a lighthouse 
beyond the harbours mouthy a foghorn is heard at regular in- 
tervals^ moaning like a mournful whale in labour ^ and from 
the harbour itself^ intermittently^ comes the warning ringing 
of bells on yachts at anchor 

The tray with the bottle of whiskey ^ glasses, and pitcher of 
ice water is on the table, as it was in the pre-luncheon scene 
of the previous act. 

Mary and the second girl, Cathleen, are ducovered. The 
latter is standing at left of table. She holds an empty whiskey 
glass in her hand as ifshe^d forgotten she had it. She shows 
the effects of drink. Her stupid, good-humoured face wears a 
pleased and flattered simper 

Mary is paler than before and her eyes shine with unnatural 
bnlhance. The strange detachment in her manner has in- 
tensified. She has Mdden deeper within herself and found 
refuge and release in a dream where present reality is but an 
appearance to be accepted and dismissed unfeelingly ~ even 
xmthahardcynicism — or entirely ignored. There is at times 
an uncanny gay, free youthfidness in her manner, as f in 
spint she were released to become again, simply and without 
self-consciousness, the naive, happy, chattering schoolgirl of 
her convent days. She wears the dress into which she had 
changed for her drive to town, a simple, fairly expensive 
affair, which would he extremely becoming if it were not 
for the careless, almost slovenly wcy she wears it. Her hair 
u no longer fastidiously in place. It has a slightly dis- 
hevelled, lopsided look. She talks to Cathleen with a corfldmg 

83 



famihanty, as if the second girl were an old, intimate friend. 
As the curtain nses, she is standing by the screen door look- 
ing out A moan of the foghorn is heard. 

MARY {amused— girlishly). That foghorn! Isn’t it awful, 
Cathleen? 

CATHLEEN {talks more familiarly than usual but never mth in- 
tentional impertinence because she sincerely likes her mistress). It 
IS indeed. Ma’am. It’s hke a banshee. 

MARY {goes on as if she hadn't heard. In nearly all the follow- 
ing dialogue there is the feeling that she has Cathleen mth her 
merely as an excuse to keep talking). I don’t mind it tonight 
Last night it drove me crazy. I lay awake worrying until 
I couldn’t stand it any more. 

CATHLEEN. Bad ccss to it. I was scared out of my wits 
ndmg back from town. I thought that ugly monkey, 
Smythe, would drive us in a ditch or against a tree. You 
couldn’t see your hand in front of you I’m glad you had 
me sit in back with you. Ma’am If I’d been in front with 
that monkey — He can’t keep his dirty hands to himself. 
Give him half a chance and he’s pinching me on the leg 
or you-know-where — asking your pardon. Ma’am, but 
it’s true. 

MARY {dreamily). It wasn’t the fog I minded, Cathleen. 
I really love fog. 

CATHLEEN. They say it’s good for the complexion. 

MARY. It hides you from the world and the world from 
you. You feel that everything has changed, and nothmg 
IS what it seemed to be. No one can find or touch you any 
more. 

CATHLEEN. I Wouldn’t care so much if Smythe was a 
fine, handsome man hke some chauffeurs I’ve seen — I 
mean, if it was aU m fun, for I’m a decent girl. But fiir a 

84 



shrivelled runt hke Smythe — ! I’ve told him, you must 
think I’m hard up that I’d notice a monkey hke you I’ve 
warned him, one day I’ll give him a clout that’ll knock 
him mto next week. And so I will* 

MARY, It’s the foghorn I hate. It won’t let you alone. 
It keeps reminding you, and warning you, and calling you 
back. {She smiles strangely,) But it can’t tomght. It’s just 
an ugly sound. It doesn’t remind me of anything. {She 
gives a teasings girlish laugh,) Except, perhaps, Mr. Tyrone’s 
snores. I’ve always had such fon teasing him about it. 
He has snored ever since I can remember, espeaally when 
he’s had too much to drink, and yet he’s like a child, he 
hates to adnut it. {She laughs^ coming to the table,) Well, I 
suppose I snore at times, too, and I don’t like to admit it. 
So I have no nght to make fun of him, have I^ {She sits in 
the rocker at nght of table,) 

CATHLEEN. Ah, sure, everybody healthy snores. It’s a 
sign of samty, they say. ( Then^ womedly.) What time is it, 
Ma’am^ I ought to go back in the kitchen. The damp is 
in Bridget’s rheumatism and she’s hke a raging dml 
She’ll bite my head off. {She puts her glass on the table and 
makes a movement toward the back parlour,) 

MARY {with a flash of apprehension). No, don’t go, Cath- 
leen. I don’t want to be alone, yet. 

CATHLEEN. You won’t be for long. The Master and the 
boys will be home soon. 

MARY. I doubt if they’ll come back for dinner. They 
have too good an excuse to remain in the bar-rooms where 
they feel at home. 

{Cathleen stared at her^ stupidly puzzled, Mary goes on 
smilingly,) 

Don’t worry about Bridget. I’ll tell her I kept you with 

85 



me, and you can take a big drink of whiskey to her when 
you go. She won’t mind then. 

CATHLEEN {grins — at her ease again) . No, Ma’am. That’s 
the one thmg can make her cheerful. She loves her drop 

MARY. Have another drink yourself, if you wish, 
Cathleen. 

CATHLEEN. I don’t know if I’d better. Ma’am. I can 
feel what I’ve had already. {Reaching for the bottle.) Well, 
maybe one more won’t harm. {She pours a dnnk ) Here’s 
your good health. Ma’am. {She drinks without bothering 
about a chaser.) 

MARY {dreamily). I really did have good health once, 
Cathleen. But that was long ago. 

CATHLEEN {worned again). The Master’s sure to notice 
what’s gone from the bottle. He has the eye of a hawk for 
that. 

MARY {amusedly). Oh, we’ll play Jamie’s trick on him. 
Just measure a few dnnks of water and pour them in. 

CATHLEEN {does this — with a silly giggle). God save me, 
it’ll be half water. He’ll know by the taste. 

MARY {indifferently) . No, by the time he comes home he’ll 
be too drunk to tell the difference. He has such a good 
excuse, he beheves, to drown his sorrows. 

CATHLEEN {philosophically). Well, it’s a good man’s fail- 
ing. I wouldn’t give a trauneen for a teetotaller. They’ve 
no high spirits. {JTien, stupidly puzzled.) Good excuse^ 
You mean Master Edmund, Ma’am? I can tell the Mas- 
ter is worried about him. 


MARY {stiffens defensively — but in a strange way the reaction 
has a mechamcal quality, as fit did not penetrate to real emotion). 

86 



Don’t be silly, Gathleen Why should he be? A touch of 
grippe IS notlung. And Mr. Tyrone never is worried about 
any^ng, except money and property and the fear he’ll 
end his days m poverty. I mean, deeply worned. Be- 
cause he cannot really understand anything else. {She 
gives a little laugh of detached^ affectionate amusement) My 
husband is a very pecuhar man, Gathleen. 

CATHLEEN {vuguely rescntfuT). Well, he’s a fine, hand- 
some, kind gentleman just the same, Ma’am. Never nund 
his weakness. 

MARY. Oh, I don’t mind I’ve loved him dearly for 
thirty-six years That proves I know he’s lovable at heart 
and can’t help being what he is, doesn’t it? 

OKTmsE'm {hazily reassured). That’s right. Ma’am. Love 
him dearly, for any fool can see he worships the ground 
you walk on. {Fighting the effect of her last drink and trying 
to be soberly conversational ) Speaking of acting, Ma’am, 
how is it you never went on ^e stage? 

MARY {resentfully). What put that absurd notion in 
your head? I was brought up in a respectable home and 
educated in the best convent in the Middle West. Before 
I met Mr. Tyrone I hardly knew there was such a thing 
as a theatre. I was a very pious girl. I even dreamed of 
becoming a nun. I’ve never had the shghtest desire to be 
an actress. 

CATHLEEN {bluntly). Well, I can’t imagine you a holy 
nun, Ma’am. Sure, you never darken the door of a 
church, God forgive you. 

MARY {ignores this). I’ve never felt at home in the 
theatre. Even though Mr. Tyrone has made me go with 
him on all his tours, I’ve had httle to do with the people 
in his company, or with anyone on the stage. Not that I 
have anything against them. They have always been kind 

87 



to me, and I to them. But I’ve never felt at home widi 
them. Their hfe is not my life. It has always stood be- 
tween me and — {She gets up — abruptly ) But let’s not 
talk of old thmgs that couldn’t be helped. {She goes to the 
porch door and stares out.) How thick the fog is I can’t see 
the road All the people in the world could pass by and I 
would never know. I wish it was always that way. It’s 
getting dark already It will soon be night, thank good- 
ness. {She turns back — vaguely ) It was kind of you to keep 
me company this afternoon, Cathleen. I would have been 
lonely driving uptown alone. 

CATHLEEN. SuTC, Wouldn’t I rather ride m a fine auto- 
mobile than stay here and hsten to Bridget’s hes about her 
relations^ It was hke a vacation, Ma’am {She pomes — 
then stupidly.) There was only one thing I didn’t hke. 

MARY {vaguely) What was that, Cathleen'* 

CATHLEEN. The way the man m the drugstore acted 
when I took in the prescription for you. {Indignantly) The 
impidence of him! 

MARY {with stubborn blankness) What are you talking 
about? What drugstore^ What prescnption^ {Then 
hastily, as Cathleen stares in stupid amazement.) Oh, of course, 
I’d forgotten. The medicme for the rheumatism in my 
hands. What did the man say^ {Then with indifference.) 
Not that It matters, as long as he filled the prescnption. 

CATHLEEN It mattered to me, then' I’m not used to 
being treated hke a thief. He gave me a long look and says 
insultingly, “Where did you get hold of this?” and I says, 
“It’s none of your damned business, but if you must know, 
it’s for the lady I work for, Mrs. Tyrone, who’s sitting out 
in the automobile.” That shut him up quick. He gave a 
look out at you and said, “Oh,” and went to get the 
medicine. 


88 



MARY {vaguely). Yes, he knows me. {She sits in the arm- 
chair at right rear of table. She adds in a calm^ detached voice.) 
I have to take it because there is no other that can stop the 
pain — all the pain — I mean, in my hands. {She raises her 
hands and regards them with melancholy sympathy. There is no 
tremor in them now.) Poor hands* You*d never believe it, 
but they were once one of my good points, along with my 
hair and eyes, and I had a fine figure, too {Her tone has 
become more and more far-ojf and dreamy) They were a 
musician’s hands. I used to love the piano. I worked so 
hard at my music in the Convent — if you can call it work 
when you do something you love. Mother Ehzabeth and 
my music teacher both said I had more talent than any 
student they remembered. My father paid for special 
lessons. He spoiled me. He would do anything I asked. 
He would have sent me to Europe to study after I gradu- 
ated firom the Convent. I might have gone — if I hadn’t 
fallen in love with Mr. Tyrone. Or I might have become 
a nun. I had two dreams. To be a nun, that was the more 
beautiful one. To become a concert piamst, that was the 
other. 


{She pauses j regarding her hands fixedly. Cathleen blinks 
her eyes to fight off drowsiness and a tipsy feeling.) 

I haven’t touched a piano in so many years. I couldn’t 
play with such crippled fingers, even if I wanted to. For 
a time after my mamage I tned to keep up my music. 
But it was hopeless. One-night stands, cheap hotels, dirty 
trains, bearing children, never having a home— {She 
stares at her hands with fascinated disgust ) See, Cathleen, 
how ugly they are! So maimed and crippled! You would 
think they’d been through some homble accident! {She 
gives a strange little laugh.) So they have, come to think of it. 
{She suddenly thrusts her hands behind her back.) I won’t look 
at them. They’re worse than the foghorn for reminding 
me— {Then xmthdefimt self assurance.) But even they can’t 

89 



touch me now. {She brings her hands from behind her back and 
deliberately stares at them — calmly.) They’re far away. I 
see them, but the pam has gone. 

CATHLEEN {stupidly puzded). You’ve taken some of the 
medicine^ It made you act funny. Ma’am. If I didn’t 
know better, I’d think you’d a drop taken. 

MARY {dreamily). It kdls the pam. You go back until at 
last you are beyond its reach. Only the past when you 
were happy is real {She pauses — then as f her words had 
been an evocation which called back happiness she changes in her 
whole manner and facial expression She looks younger There is 
a quality of an innocent convent girl about her, and she smiles 
shyly ) If you think Mr. Tyrone is handsome now, Cath- 
leen, you should have seen him when I first met him He 
had the reputation of bemg one of the best-lookmg men 
in the country. The girls in the Convent who had seen 
him act, or seen his photographs, used to rave about him 
He was a great matinee idol then, you know. Women 
used to wait at the stage door just to see him come out 
You can imagine how exated I was, when my father 
wrote me he and James Tyrone had become friends, and 
that I was to meet him when I came home for Easter 
vacation. I showed the letter to all the girls, and how 
envious they were' My father took me to see him at 
first. It was a play about the French Revolution and the 
leading part was a nobleman I couldn’t take my eyes off 
him. I wept when he was thrown in prison — and then 
was so mad at myself because I was afraid my eyes and 
nose would be red. My father had said we’d go backstage 
to his dressing-room nght after the play, and so we did. 
{She gives a little excited, shy laugh ) I was so bashful all I 
could do was stammer and blush hke a httle fool. But he 
didn’t seem to think I was a fool. I know he liked me the 
first mcmient we were introduced. {Coquettishly ) I guess 
my eyes and nose couldn’t have been red, after aU. I was 

90 



really very pretty then, Cathleen. And he was handsonaer 
than my wildest dream, m his make-up and his noble- 
man’s costume that was so becommg to him. He was 
different from all ordinary men, like someone from an- 
other world. At the same time he was simple, and kind, 
and unassuming, not a bit stuck-up or vain. I fell m love 
nght then. So did he, he told me afterwards I forgot all 
about becoming a nun or a concert pianist. All I wanted 
was to be his wife. {She pauses, storing before her with un- 
naturally bright, dreamy eyes, and a rapt, tender, girlish smile.) 
Thirty-six years ago, but I can see it as clearly as if it were 
tomght' We’ve loved each other ever since. And in all 
those thirty-six years, there has never been a breath of 
scandal about him. I mean, with any other woman. 
Never smce he met me That has made me very happy, 
Cathleen. It has made me forgive so many other things. 

CATHLEEN (fighting tipsy drowsiness — sentimentally). He’s 
a fine gentleman and you’re a lucky woman. (Tfwn, 
fidgeting.) Can I take the drink to Bridget, Ma’am^ It 
must be near dinner-time and I ought to be m the kitchen 
helping her. If she don’t get something to quiet her tem- 
per, she’ll be after me with the cleaver. 

MARY (mth a vague exasperation at being brought back from 
her dream). Yes, yes, go. I don’t need you now. 

CATHLEEN (with relief). Thank you. Ma’am. (She pours 
out a big drink and starts for the back parlour with it.) You 
won’t be alone long. The Master and the boys — 

MARY (impatiently). No, no, they won’t come. Tell Brid- 
get I won’t wait. You can serve dinner promptly at half- 
past SIX. I’m not hungry but I’ll sit at the table and we’ll 
get It over with. 

CATHLEEN. You Ought to eat something. Ma’am. It’s 
a queer medicine if it t£^€s away your appetite. 

91 



MARY {has begun to dnft into dreams again — reacts mechanic- 
ally). What medicine? I don’t know what you mean. {In 
dismissal.) You better take the dnnk to Bridget. 

CATHLEEN. Yes, Ma’am. 

{She disappears through the back parlour, Mary waits 
until she hears the pantry door close behind her. Then 
she settles back in relaxed dreaminess^ staring fixedly 
at nothing Her arms rest limply along the arms of 
the chair ^ her hands with long, warped, swollen- 
knuckled, sensitive fingers drooping in complete calm 
It IS growing dark in the room There is a pause of 
dead quiet. Then from the world outside comes the 
melancholy moan of the foghorn, followed by a chorus 
of bells, muffled by the fog, from the anchored craft 
in the harbour. Marfs face gives no sign she has 
heard, but her hands jerk and the fingers automatic- 
ally play for a moment on the air She frowns and 
shakes her head mechanically as if a fly had walked 
across her mind. She suddenly loses all the girlish 
quality and u an ageing, cynically sad, embittered 
woman ) 

MARY {bitterly). You’re a sentimental fool. What is so 
wonderful about that first meeting between a silly roman- 
tic schoolgirl and a matinee idoP You were much happier 
before you knew he existed, in the Convent when you 
used to pray to the Blessed Virgin. {Longingly ) If I could 
only find the faith I lost, so I could pray again! {She 
pauses — then begins to recite the Hail Mary in a fiat, empty tone.) 
*‘Hail, Mary, foil of grace! the Lord is with Thee; blessed 
art Thou among women.” {Sneeringly.) You expect the 
Blessed Virgin to be fooled by a lying dope fiend reciting 
words ^ You can’t hide from Her^ {She springs to her feet. 
Her hands fly up to pat her hair distractedly.) I must go up- 
stairs. I haven’t taken enough. When you start again 
you never know exactly how much you need. {She goes 

9 ^ 



toward the front parlour — then stops in the doorway as she hears 
the sound of voices from the front path. She starts guiltily.) That 
must be Aem — {She hurries back to sit down. Her fau sets in 
stubborn defensiveness — resentfully.) Why are they coming 
back^ They don’t want to And I’d much rather be alone. 
{Suddenly her whole manner changes. She becomes pathetically re- 
lieved and eager ) Oh, I’m so glad they’ve come! I’ve been 
so horribly lonely! 

( The front door is heard closing and Tyrone calls uneasily 
from the hall.) 

TYRONE. Are you there, Mary? 

{The light in the hall is turned on and shines through the 
front parlour to fall on Mary ) 

MARY {rises from her chair ^ her face lighting up lovingly — with 
excited eagerness). I’m here, dear. In the hving-room. I’ve 
been waiting for you. 

{Tyrone comes in through the front parlour Edmund is 
behind him. Tyrone has had a lot to dnnk but beyond 
a slightly glazed look in his eyes and a trace of blur 
in his speech^ he does not show it. Edmund has also 
had more than a few dnnks without much apparent 
effect^ except that his sunken cheeks are fushed and 
kts eyes look bright and feverish. Th^ stop in the 
doorway to stare appraisingly at her What th^ see 
fulfils their worst expectations. But for the moment 
Mary is unconsmus of thar condemning ^es. She 
kisses her husband and then Edmund. Her manner is 
unnaturally efiiisive. Th^ submit shnnkingly. She 
talks exatedly.) 

I’m so happy you’ve come. I had given up hope. I was 
afraid you wouldn’t come home. It’s such a dismal, foggy 
evening It must be much more cheerful in the bar-room^ 
uptown, where there are people you can taUc and joke 

93 



with. No, don’t deny it. I know how you feel. I don’t 
blame you a bit. I’m all the more gratefiil to you for com- 
ing home. I was sitting here so lonely and blue. Come 
and sit down, 

{She sits at left rear of table, Edmund at left of table, and 
Tyrone in the rocker at right of it.) 

Dinner won’t be ready for a imnute. You’re actually a 
htde early. WiU wonders never cease^ Here’s the whiskey, 
dear. Shall I pour a dnnk for you'^ {Without waiting for a 
reply she does so.) And you, Edmund? I don’t want to 
encourage you, but one before dinner, as an appetizer, 
can’t do any harm. 

{She pours a drwk for him. They make no move to take 
the dnnks. She talks on as if unaware of their silence.) 

Where’s Jamie’ But, of course, he’ll never come home so 
long as he has the price of a dnnk left. {She reaches out and 
clasps her husband's hand — sadly.) I’m afrmd Jamie has 
been lost to us for a long time, dear. {Her face hardens ) 
But we mustn’t allow him to drag Edmund down with 
him, as he’s hke to do. He’s jealous because Edmund has 
always been the baby — just as he used to be of Eugene. 
He’ll never be content until he makes Edmund as hope- 
less a failure as he is. 

EDMUND {miserab^). Stop talkmg. Mama. 

TYRONE {dully). Yes, Mary, the less you say now — 
{Then to Edmund, a bit tipsily.) All the same there’s truth 
in your mother’s warmng. Beware of that brother of yours, 
or he’ll poison life for you with his damned sneenng ser- 
pent’s tongue! 

EDMUND {as before). Oh, cut it out. Papa. 

MARY {goes on as if nothing had been said). It’s hard to be- 
heve, seeing Jamie as he is now, that he was ever my baby. 

94 



Do you remember what a healthy, happy baby he was, 
James? The one-mght stands and filthy trams and cheap 
hotels and bad food never made him cross or sick. He 
was always smihng or laughmg He hardly ever cried. 
Eugene was the same, too, happy and healthy, dunng the 
two years he hved before I let him die through my 
neglect. 

TYRONE. Oh, for the love of Gk)d I I’m a fool for coming 
home! 

EDMUND, Papa' Shut up' 

MARY {smiles with detached tenderness at Edmund). It was 
Edmimd who was the crosspatch when he was htde, always 
gettmg upset and fiightened about nothing at all {She 
pats his hand — teasingly ) Everyone used to say, dear, 
you’d cry at the drop of a hat. 

EDMUND {cannot control hxs bitterness). Maybe I guessed 
there was a good reason not to laugh. 

TYRONE {reproving and pitying). Now, now, lad. You 
know better dian to pay attention — 

MARY {as if she haddt heard — sadly again). Who would 
have thought Jamie would grow up to disgrace us. You 
remember, James, for years after he went to boardmg 
school, we received such glowing reports Everyone liked 
him. All his teachers told us what a fine brain he had, and 
how easily he learned his lessons. Even after he began to 
drink jind they had to expel him, they wrote us how sorry 
they were, because he was so likeable and such a brilliant 
student. They predicted a wonderful future for him if he 
would only learn to take life seriously. {She pauses — then 
adds with a strange, sad detachment ) It’s such a pity. Poor 
Jamie! It’s h2ird to imderstand — {Abruptly a charge comes 
over her. Her face hardens and she stares at her husband with 
accusing hoshlity.) No, it isn’t at aU. You brought him up 

95 



to be a boozer. Since he first opened his eyes, he’s seen 
you dnnking Always a bottle on the bureau m the cheap 
hotel rooms! And if he had a mghtmare when he was 
httle, or a stomach-ache, your remedy was to give him a 
teaspoonful of whiskey to qmet him. 

TYRONE {stung). So I’m to blame because that lazy 
hulk has made a drunken loafer of himself? Is that what 
I came home to hsten to^ I might have known! When 
you have the poison m you, you want to blame everyone 
but yourself! 

EDMUND, Papa' You told me not to pay attention 
{Then, resentfallj ) Anyway it’s true You did the same 
dung with me. I can remember that tcaspoonful of booze 
every time I woke up with a mghtmare. 

MARY {in a detached reminiscent tone). Yes, you were con- 
tinually having mghtmares as a child You were bom 
afiraid. Because I was so afiraid to bring you into the 
world. {She pauses — then goes on with the same detachment ) 
Please don’t think I blame your father, Edmund. He 
didn’t know any better. He never went to school after he 
was ten His people were the most ignorant kind of 
poverty-stricken Insh. I’m sure they honestiy beheved 
whiskey is the healthiest mediane for a child who is sick 
or fiightened. 

( Tyrone is about to burst out in angry defence of his family 
but Edmund intervenes.) 

EDMUND {sharply) Papa' {Changing the subject.) Are we 
gomg to have this dnnk, or aren’t we^ 

TYV-om. {controlling himself — dully). You’re right. I’m 
a fool to take notice. {He puks up his glass listlessly.) Drink 
hearty, lad. 

{Edmund dnnks but Tyrone remains staring at the glass in 
his hand Edmund at once realizfis how much the 

96 



whiskey has been watered He frowns^ glancing 
from the bottle to jus mother — starts to say some- 
thing but stops.) 

MARY (in a changed tone’— repentantly). I’m sorry if I 
sounded bitter, James. I’m not. It’s all so far away. But 
I did feel a little hurt when you wished you hadn’t come 
home. I was so reheved and happy when you came, and 
grateful to you. It’s very dreary and sad to be here alone 
in the fog with mght falling. 

TYRONE [moved). I’m glad I came, Mary, when you act 
like your real self. 

MARY. I was so lonesome I kept Cathleen with me just 
to have someone to talk to. [Her manner and quality drift 
back to the shy convent girl again ) Do you know what I was 
telhng her, dear^ About the mght my father took me to 
your dressing-room and I first fell in love with you. Do 
you remember? 

TYRONE [deeply moved— his voice husky). Can you think 
I’d ever forget, Mary? 

[Edmund looks away from them^ sad and embarrassed.) 

MARY [tenderly). No. I know you still love me, James, in 
spite of everythmg. 

TYRONE [his face works and he blinks back tears — with quiet 
intensity). Yesi As Gk)d is my judge! Always and for ever, 
Mary! 

MARY. And I love you, dear, in spite of everything. 

[There is a pause in which Edmund moves embarrassedly. 
The strange detachment comes over her manner again 
as f she were speaking impersonally of people seen 
from a distance.) 

But I must confess, James, although I couldn’t help loving 

G 97 



you, I would never have mamed you if I’d known you 
drank so much. I remember the first night your bar-room 
fhends had to help you up to the door of our hotel room, 
and knocked and then ran away before I came to the door. 
We were stdl on our honeymoon, do you remember^ 

TVRONE {mth guilty vehemence) I don’t remember' It 
wasn’t on our honeymoon' And I never m my hfe had to 
be helped to bed, or missed a performance' 

MARY [as though he hadiit spoken). I had waited m that 
ugly hotel room hour after hour. I kept making excuses 
for you. I told myself it must be some business connected 
with the theatre I knew so httle about the theatre. Then 
I became terrified. I imagined all sorts of homble acci- 
dents. I got on my knees and prayed that nothing had 
happened to you — and then they brought you up and 
left you outside the door. [She gives a little, sad sigh.) I 
didn’t know how often that was to happen in the years to 
come, how many times I was to wait in ugly hotel rooms. 
I became qmte used to it. 

EDMUND [bursts out with a look of accusing hate at his father). 
Christ' No wonder—' [He controls himself — gruffly.) 
When IS dinner. Mama-’ It must be time. 

TYRONE [overwhelmed by shame which he tries to hide, fumbles 
with his watch). Yes. It must be. Let’s see. [He stares at his 
watch without seeing it. Pleadingly.) Mary! Can’t you 
forget — ? 

MARY [with detached pity). No, dear. But I forgive. I 
always forgive you. So don’t look so guilty I’m sorry I 
remembered out loud. I don’t want to be sad, or to m^e 
you sad. I want to remember only the happy part of the 
past. [Her manner drifts back to the sly, gay convent girl.) Do 
you remember our wedding, dear^ I’m sure you’ve com- 
pletely forgotten what my weddmg gown looked like. 

98 



Men don’t notice such things. They don’t think they’re 
important. But it was important to me, I can tell you! 
How I fiissed and worried' I was so excited and happy! 
My father told me to buy anythmg I wanted and never 
mind what it cost. The best is none too good, he said 
I’m afraid he spoiled me dreadfully. My mother didn’t. 
She was very pious and strict I think she was a httle 
jealous She didn’t approve of my marrying — especially 
an actor. I think she hoped I would become a nun She 
used to scold my father. She’d grumble, “You never tell 
me, never mind what it costs, when I buy anythmg' 
You’ve spoiled that girl so, I pity her husband if she ever 
marries. She’ll expect him to give her the moon. She’ll 
never make a good wife ’’ {She laughs affectionately.) Poor 
mother! {She smiles at Tyrone mth a strange, incongruous 
coquetry ) But she was mistaken, wasn’t she, James? I 
haven’t been such a bad wife, have I? 

TYRONE {huskily, trying to force a smile). I’m not com- 
plaining, Mary. 

MARY {a shadow of vague guilt crosses her face). At least, 
I’ve loved you dearly, and done the best I could — under 
the circumstances. ( The shadow vanishes and her shy, girlish 
expression returns.) That wedding gown was nearly the 
death of me and the dressmaker, too! {She laughs.) I was 
so particular. It was never quite good enough. At last 
she said she refused to touch it any more or she might spoil 
It, and I made her leave so I could be alone to esamme 
myself in the mirror. I was so pleased and vain. I thought 
to myself, “Even if your nose and mouth and ears are a 
tnfle too large, your eyes and hair and figure, and your 
hands, make up for it. You’re just as pretty as any actress 
he’s ever met, and you don’t have to use paint.’’ {She 
pauses, vmnklmg her brow in an effort of memory.) Where is 
my wedding gown now, I wonder? I kq>t it wrapped up 
m tissue paper m my trunk. I used to hope I wtmld have 

99 



a daughter and when it came time for her to marry — 
She couldn’t have bought a loveher gown, and I knew, 
James, you’d never tell her, never mind the cost. You’d 
want her to pick up something at a bargain. It was made 
of soft, shimmenng satin, tnmmed with wonderful old 
duchesse lace, in tiny ruffles around the neck and sleeves, 
and worked in with the folds that were draped round in a 
bustle effect at the back. The basque was boned and very 
tight. I remember I held my breath when it was fitted, so 
my waist would be as small as possible. My father even 
let me have duchesse lace on my white satin shppers, and 
lace with the orange blossoms m my veil. Oh, how I loved 
that gown* It was so beautiful I Where is it now, I won- 
der? I used to take it out from time to time when I was 
lonely, but it always made me cry, so finally a long while 
ago — {She wrinkles her forehead again ) I wonder where I 
hid it^ Probably in one of the old trunks in the attic. 
Some day I’ll have to look. 

{She stops, staring before her. Tyrone sighs, shaking his 
head hopelessly, and attempts to catch his son^s eye, 
looking for sympathy, but Edmund ts staring at the 
fioor.) 

TYRONE {forces a casual tone). Isn’t it dinner time, dear^ 
{With a feeble attempt at teasing ) You’re for ever scolding 
me for being late, but now I’m on time for once, it’s dinner 
that’s late. {She doesrit appear to hear hm. He adds, still 
pleasantly.) Well, if I can’t eat yet, I can dnnk. I’d for- 
gotten I had this. 

{He dnnks hu dnnk. Edmund watches him. Tyrone 
scowls and looks at his wife with sharp suspicion — 
roughly.) 

Who’s been tampering with my whiskey? The damned 
stuff is half water! Jamie’s been away and he wouldn’t 
overdo his tnck like this, anyway. Any fool could tell — 

zoo 



Mary, answer me! (WztA angry disgust^ I hope to God 
you haven’t taken to dnnk on top of — 

EDMUND. Shut up, Papa! (T^ his mother^ without looking 
at her.) You treated Cathleen and Bridget, isn’t that it, 
Mama^ 

MARY {with indifferent casualness). Yes, of course. They 
work hard for poor wages And I’m the housekeeper, I 
have to keep them from leaving. Besides, I wanted to 
treat Cathleen because I had her dnve uptown with me, 
and sent her to get my prescription filled. 

EDMUND. For God’s sake. Mama! You can’t trust her! 
Do you want everyone on earth to know? 

MARY {her face hardening stubbornly). Know what^ That 
I suflfer from rheumatism in my hands and have to take 
mediane to kill the pam^ Why should I be ashamed of 
that? {Turns on Edmund with a hard^ accusing antagonism--- 
almost a revengeful enmity ) I never knew what rheumatism 
was before you were bom* Ask your father! 

{Edmund looks away^ shrinking into himself) 

TYRONE. Don’t mind her, lad. It doesn’t mean any- 
thing. When she gets to the stage where she gives the old 
crazy excuse about her hands she’s gone far away from us. 

MARY {turns on him — mth a strangely triumphant^ taunting 
smile), I’m glad you reahze that, James! Now perhap® 
you’ll give up trying to remind me, you and Edmund! 
{Abruptly, in a detached, matter-offact tone,) Why don’t you 
light the hght, James? It’s getting dark. I know you hate 
to, but Edmund has proved to you that one bulb burning 
doesn’t cost much. There’s no sense letting your fear of 
the poorhouse make you too stingy. 

TYRONE {reacts mechanically), I never claimed cme bulb 
cost much! It’s having them on, one here and one 

101 



that makes the Electric Light Company rich {He gets up 
and turns on the reading lamp — roughly.) But I’m a fool to 
talk reason to you {To Edmund ) Til get a fresh bottle of 
whiskey, lad, and we’ll have a real dnnk. {He goes through 
the back parlour ) 

MARY {with detached amusement). He’ll sneak around to 
the outside cellar door so the servants won’t see him. He’s 
really ashamed of keeping his whiskey padlocked in the 
cellar. Your father is a strange man, Edmund. It took 
many years before I understood him You must try to 
understand and forgive him, too, and not feel contempt 
because he’s close-fisted His father deserted his mother 
and their six children a year or so after they came to 
Amenca. He told them he had a premomtion he would 
die soon, and he was homesick for Ireland, and wainted 
to go back there to die So he went and he did die. He 
must have been a peculiar man, too. Your father had to 
go to work m a machine shop when he was only ten years 
old. 

EDMUND {protests dully). Oh, for Pete’s sake. Mama 
I’ve heard Papa tell that machine-shop story ten thousand 
umes. 

MARY. Yes, dear, you’ve had to listen, but I don’t think 
you’ve ever tned to imderstand. 

EDMUND {ignoring this — miserably). Listen, Mama* 
You’re not so far gone yet you’ve forgotten everything. 
You haven’t asked me what I found out this afternoon. 
Don’t you care a damn? 

MARY {shakenly). Don’t say that* You hurt me, dear* 

EDMUND. What I’ve got is senous. Mama. Doc Hardy 
knows for sure now. 

MARY {stiffens into scorrffd, defensive stubbornness). That 
lying old quack! I warned you he’d mvent “— ! 

102 



EDMOND {miserably dogged). He called m a specialist to 
examine me, so he’d be absolutely sure. 

MARY {ignoring ths). Don’t tell me about Hardy' If 
you heard what the doctor at the sanatorium, who really 
knows something, said about how he’d treated met He 
said he ought to be locked up' He said it was a wonder I 
hadn’t gone mad' I told him I had once, that time I ran 
down in my mghtdress to throw myself off the dock. You 
remember that, don’t you'’ And yet you want me to pay 
attention to what Doctor Hardy says. Oh, no! 

EDMUOT) {bitterly). I remember, aU nght. It was nght 
after that Papa and Jamie deaded they couldn’t hide it 
from me any more. Jaime told me. I called him a har, 

I tried to punch him in the nose. But I knew he wasntl 
lying {His voice trembles, his eyes begin to fill with tears.) God’ 
it made everythmg m life seem rotten' 

MARY {pittably). Oh, don’t My baby! You hurt me so 
dreadfully! 

EDMUND {dully). I’m sorry. Mama. It was you who 
brought it up. {Then with a bitter, stubborn persistence) 
Listen, Mama. I’m going to tell you whether you want to 
hear or not. I’ve got to go to a sanatorium. 

MARY {dazedly, as if this was something that had rmer oc- 
curred to her). Go away? {Violently ) No! I won’t have it! 
How dare Doctor Hardy advise such a thing without con- 
sulting me' How dare your father allow him' What nght 
has he? You are my baby' Let him attend to Jamie' 
{More and more exated and bitter.) I know why he wants you 
sent to a sanatonum. To take you from me! He’s always 
tned to do that. He’s been jealous of every one of my 
babies! He kept finding ways to make me leave them. 
Tliat’s what caused Eugene’s death. He’s been jealous c£ 
you most of all He knew I loved you most because — 

103 



EDMUND (mserably). Oh, stop talking crazy, can’t you. 
Mama! Stop trying to blame him. And why are you so 
against my going away nowi* I’ve been away a lot, and 
I’ve never noticed it broke your heart! 

MARY {bitterly). I’m afraid you’re not very sensitive, 
after all. {Sadlj ) You might have guessed, dear, that after 
I knew you knew — about me — I had to be glad when- 
ever you were where you couldn’t see me. 

EDMUND {brokenly). Mama> Don’t' {He reaches out 
blindly and takes her hand — but he drops it immediately, over- 
come by bitterness again.) All this talk about loving me — 
and you won’t even listen when I try to tell you how 
sick — 

MARY {with an abrupt trantformation into a detached bullying 
motherliness). Now, now. That’s enough' I don’t care to 
hear because I know it’s nothing but Hardy’s ignorant 
hes. 


{He shrinks back into himself. She keeps on in a forced, 
teasing tone but with an increasing undercurrent of 
resentment.) 

You’re so like your father, dear. You love to make a scene 
out of nothing so you can be dramatic and tragic. {With a 
belittling laugh.) If I gave you the slightest encouragement, 
you’d tell me next you were gomg to die — 

EDMUND. People do die of it. Your own father — 

MARY {sharply). Why do you mention him'* There’s no 
comparison at all with you. He had consumption. 
{Angrily.) I hate you when you become gloomy and mor- 
bid! I forbid you to remind me of my father’s death, do 
you hear me? 

EDMUND {his face hard— grimly). Yes, I hear you. 
Mama. I wish to God I didn’t! {He gets up from his chair 

104 



and stands staring condemningly at her — bitterly.) It’s pretty 
hard to take at times, having a dope fiend for a mother! 

{She winces — all life seeming to drain from her face^ leath 
tng It with the appearance of a plaster cast In* 
stantly Edmund wishes he could take back what he 
has said He stammers miserably ) 

Forgive me, Mama. I was angry. You hurt me. 

( There is a pause in which the foghorn and the ships'^ bells 
are heard ) 

MARY {goes slowly to the windows at right like an automaton — 
looking outy a blanky far*off quality in her voice). Just listen to 
that awful foghorn And the bells. Why is it fog makes 
everything sound so sad and lost, I wonder^ 

EDMUND {brokenly). I — I can’t stay here. I don’t want 
any dinner. 

{He hurries away through the front parlour. She keeps 
staring out of the window until she hears the front door 
close behind him. Then she comes back and sits in 
her chair, the same blank look on her face.) 

MARY {vaguely). I must go upstairs. I haven’t taken 
enough. {She pauses — then longingly.) I hope, sometime, 
without meaning it, I will take an overdose. I never could 
do it deliberately. The Blessed Virgin would never forgive 
me, then. 

{She hears Tyrone returning and turns as he comes in, 
through the back parlour, with a bottle of whisky he 
has just uncorked. He u fuming.) 

TrELom.{wrathfully). The padlock is all scratched. That 
drunken loafer has tried to pick the lock with a piece of 
wire, the way he’s done before. {Witii satisf action, as tf this 
was a perpetual battle of wits with hts elder son.) But I’ve 

105 



fooled liim this time. It’s a special padlock a professional 
burglar couldn’t pick. {He puts the bottle on the tray and 
suddenly is aware of Edmund’s absence.) Where’s Edmund? 

MARY {mth a vague far-away air). He went out. Perhaps 
he’s going uptown agam to find Jamie. He still has some 
money left, I suppose, and it’s burning a hole in his 
pocket. He said he didn’t want any dinner He doesn’t 
seem to have any appetite these days. ( Then stubbornly ) 
But it’s just a summer cold. 

{Tyrone stares at her and shakes his head helplessly and 
pours himself a big dnnk and dnnks it. Suddenly it 
IS too much for her and she breaks out and sobs.) 

Oh, James, I’m so fhghtened' {She gets up and throws her 
arms around him and hides her face on fas shoulder — sobbingly.) 
I know he’s gomg to die' 

TYRONE. Don’t say that' It’s not true' They promised 
me in SIX months he’d be cured 

MARY. You don’t beheve that' I can tell when you’re 
acting' And it wiU be my fault. I should never have 
borne him. It would have been better for his sake. I 
could never hurt him then He wouldn’t have had to 
know his mother was a dope fiend — and hate her! 

TYRONE {his vcnce quivennf). Hush, Mary, for the love of 
God! He loves you. He knows it was a curse put on you 
without your knowing or wilhng it. He’s proud you’re his 
mother! {Abruptly as he hears the pantry door opening.) Hush, 
now! Here comes Gathleen. You don’t want her to see 
you crying. 

{She turns quickly away from him to the mndows at right, 
hastily wiping her eyes. A moment later Cathleen 
appears in the back-parhm doorway. She is uncer- 
tain in her walk and gnrmng woozily.) 
lo6 



CATHLEEN {starts guiltily when she sees Tyrone — with dig- 
nity)t Dinner is served. Sir. {Raising her voice unnecessarily,) 
Dinner is served, Ma’am. {She forgets her dignity and addresses 
Tyrone with good-natured familiarity,) So you’re here, are 
you^ Well, well. Won’t Bridget be in a rage! I told her 
the Madame said you wouldn’t be home. {Then reading 
accusation in his eye,) Don’t be looking at me that way If 
I’ve a drop taken, I didn’t steal it. I was invited. {She 
turns with huffy dignity and disappears through the back parlour,) 

TYRONE {sighs — then summoning his actor^s heartiness). 
Come along, dear. Let’s have our dinner. I’m hungry as 
a hunter. 

MARY {comes to him — her face is composed in plaster again and 
her tone is remote), I’m afraid you’ll have to excuse me, 
James I couldn’t possibly eat anything. My hands pain 
me dreadfully. I think the best thing for me is to go to bed 
and rest. Good mght, dear. {She kisses him mechanically and 
turns toward the front parlour,) 

TYRONE {harshly). Up to take more of that God-damned 
poison, IS that it^ You’ll be like a mad ghost before the 
mght’s over! 

MARY {starts to walk away — blankly), I don’t know what 
you’re talking about, James. You say such mean, bitter 
things when you’ve drunk too much. You’re as bad as 
Jaime or Edmund. 

{She moves off through the front parlour He stands a 
second as if not knowing what to do. He is a sad^ 
bewildered^ broken old man He walks wearily off 
through the back parlour toward the dining-room,) 

Curtain 


107 



ACT FOUR 


SCENE The same. It u around midnight The lamp in the front 
hall has been turned out^ so that now no light shines through 
the front parlour. In the living-room only the reading-lamp 
on the table is lighted Outside the windows the wall of fog 
appears denser than ever As the curtain rises, the foghorn is 
heard, followed by the ships' bells from the harbour 

Tyrone is seated at the table. He wears his pince-nez, and 
is playing solitaire. He has taken off his coat and has on an 
old brown dressing-gown The whiskey bottle on the tray 
IS three-quarters empty. There is a fresh full bottle on the 
table, which he has brought from the cellar so there will be 
an ample reserve at hand. He is drunk and shows it by the 
owlish, deliberate manner in which he peers at each card to 
make certain of its identity, and then plays it as if he wasn't 
certain of his am Hu eyes have a misted, oily look and his 
mouth u slack. But despite all the whiskey in him, he has 
not escaped, and he looks as he appeared at the close of the 
preceding act, a sad, defeated old man, possessed by hopeless 
resignation. 

As the curtain rises, he finishes a game and sweeps the cards 
together. He shuffles them clumsily, dropping a couple on 
the floor. He retrieves them with difficulty, and starts to 
shuffle again, when he hears someone entering the front door. 
He peers over hu pince-nez through the front parlour. 

TYRONE {his voice thick). Who’s that^ Is it you, Edmund? 

{Edmund's voice answers curtly, Yes. Then he evidently 
collides with something in the dark hall and can be 
heard cursing. A moment later the hall lamp is 
turned on. Tyrone frowns and calls.) 
xo8 



Turn that hght out before you come in. 

{But Edmund doesn't. He comes in through the front 
parlour. He is drunk now, too, but like his father he 
carries it well, and gives little physical sign of it 
except in his eyes and a chip-on-the-shoidder aggres- 
siveness in his manner. Tyrone speaks, at first with 
a warm, relieved welcome.) 

I’m glad you’ve come, lad. I’ve been damned lonely. 
( Then resentfidly.) You’re a fine one to run away and leave 
me to sit alone here all night when you know — {With 
sharp irritation.) I told you to turn out that hght! We’re 
not giving a ball. There’s no reason to have the house 
ablaze with electnaty at this time of mght, burmng up 
money! 

EDMUND {angrily). Ablaze with electncity! One bulb! 
Hell, everyone keeps a hght on m the front hall until they 
go to bed {He rubs his knee.) I damned near busted my 
knee on the hat stand. 

TYRONE. The light fi'om here shows in the hall. You 
could see your way well enough if you were sober. 

EDMUND. If I was sober^ I like that! 

TYRONE. I don’t give a damn what other people do. If 
they want to be wasteful fijols, for the sake of show, let 
them be! 

EDMUND. One bulb! Christ, don’t be such a cheap 
skate! I’ve proved by figures if you left the hght bulb on 
all night it wouldn’t be as much as one drink! 

TYRONE. To hell with your figures! The proof is in the 
bills I have to pay! 

EDMUND {sits down Opposite his father — corOemptuously). 
Yes, facts don’t mean a thing, do they? What you want 

109 



to believe, that’s the only truth • {Derisively.) Shakespeare 
weis an Insh Cathohc, for example. 

TYRONE {stubbornly). So he was. The proof is in his 
plays. 

EDMUND. Well he wasn’t, and there’s no proof of it in 
his plays, except to you! {Jeenngly.) The Duke of Wel- 
hngton, there was another good Insh Cathohc' 

TYRONE. I never said he was a good one. He was a 
renegade, but a Cathohc just the same. 

EDMUND. Well, he wasn’t. You just want to beheve no 
one but an Insh Cathohc general could beat Napoleon. 

TYRONE I’m not going to argue with you. I asked you 
to turn out that hght in the hall. 

EDMUND. I heard you, and as far as I’m concerned it 
stays on. 

TYRONE None of your damned insolence' Are you go- 
mg to obey me or not-’ 

EDMUND. Not! If you want to be a crazy miser put it 
out yourself' 

TYRONE {with threatening anger). Listen to me' I’ve put 
up with a lot from you because from the mad thmgs 
you’ve done at times I’ve thought you weren’t quite nght 
in your head. I’ve excused you and never hfted my hand 
to you. But there’s a straw that breaks the camel’s back. 
You’ll obey me and put out that hght or, big as you are. 
I’ll give you a thrashing that’ll teach you — ' {Suddenly 
he remembers Edmund's illness and instantly becomes guilty and 
shamefaced) Forgive me, lad. I forgot— You shouldn’t 
goad me mto losing my temper. ' 

EDMUND {ashamed himself now). Forget it. Papa. I 

no 



apologize, too. I had no right being nasty about nothing. 
I am a bit soused, I guess. 1^11 put out the damned light. 
{He starts to get up.) 

TYRONE. No, stay where you are. Let it bum. {He 
stands up abruptly — and a bit drunkenly — and begins turning 
on the three bulbs in the chandelier^ with a childish^ bitterly 
dramatic self-pity ) We’ll have them all on! Let them bum! 
To hell with them* The poorhouse is the end of the road, 
and it roight as well be sooner as later! {He finishes turning 
on the lights.) 

EDMUND {has watched this proceeding with an awakened sense 
of humour — now he gnnSy teasing affectionately). That’s a 
grand curtain. {He laughs.) You’re a wonder. Papa. 

TYRONE {sits down sheepishly— grumbles pathetically). That’s 
nght, laugh at the old fool! The poor old ham! But the 
final curtain will be in the poorhouse just the same, and 
that’s not comedy* {Then as Edmund is still grinning^ he 
changes the subject ) Well, well, let’s not argue. You’ve got 
brains in that head of yours, though you do your best to 
deny them. You’ll live to learn the value of a dollar. 
You’re not hke your damned tramp of a brother. I’ve 
given up hope he’ll ever get sense. Where is he, by the 
way? 

EDMUND. How would I know? 

TYRONE. I thought you’d gone back uptown to meet 
him. 

EDMUND No. I walked out to the beach. I haven’t 
seen him since this afternoon. 

TYRONE. Well, if you split the money I gave you with 
him, like a fool — 

EDMUND. Sure I did. He’s always staked me when he 
had anythmg. 


Ill 



TYRONE. Then it doesn’t take a soothsayer to tell he’s 
probably in the whorehouse. 

EDMUND. What of It if he is^ Why not^ 

TYRONE {contemptuously). Why not, indeed It’s the fit 
place for him If he’s ever had a loftier dream than 
whores and whiskey, he’s never shown it 

EDMUND Oh, for Pete’s sake, Papa' If you’re gomg to 
start that stuff. I’ll beat it {He starts to get up.) 

TYRONE {placatingly). All right, all nght. I’ll stop. God 
knows, I don’t like the subject either. Will you jom me m 
a dnnk? 

EDMUND. Ah' Now you’re talking! 

TYRONE {passes the bottle to him — mechanically). I’m 
wrong to treat you. You’ve had enough already. 

EDMUND {pouring a big dnnk — a bit drunkenly) Enough is 
not as good as a feast. {He hands back the bottle.) 

TYROKTE. It’s too much in your condition. 

EDMUND. Forget my condition! {He raises his glass.) 
Here’s how. 

TYRONE. Dnnk hearty. 

{Th^ dnnk.) 

If you walked all the way to the beach you must be damp 
and chilled. 


EDMUND. Oh, I dropped in at the Inn on the way out 
and back. 

TYRONE It’s not a mght I’d pick for a long walk. 

EDMUND. I loved the fog. It was what I needed. {He 
sounds more up^ and looks it.) 

112 



TYRONE. You should havc more sense than to nsk — 

EDMUND. To hell with sense! We’re all crazy. What 
do we want with sense? {He quotes from Dowson sardonicallj.) 

“They are not long, the weepmg and the laughter. 
Love and desire and hate 
I think they have no portion m us after 
We pass the gate. 

They are not long, the days of wine and roses: 

Out of a misty dream 

Our path emerges for a while, then closes 

Within a dream.” 

{Staring before him.) The fog was where I wanted to be. 
Halfway down the path you can’t see this house. You’d 
never know it was here. Or any of the other places down 
the avenue. I couldn’t see but a few feet ahead I didn’t 
meet a soul. Every thing looked and sounded unreal. 
Nothing was what it is. That’s what I wanted — to be 
alone with myself in another world where truth is untrue 
and life can hide firom itself. Out beyond the harbour, 
where the road runs along the beach, I even lost the feel- 
ing of bang on land. The fog and the sea seemed part of 
each other. It was hke walking on the bottom of the sea. 
As if I had drowned long ago. As if I was a ghost belong- 
ing to the fog, and the fog was the ghost of the sea. It felt 
damned peaceful to be nothing more than a ghost withm 
a ghost {He sees tas father staring at km mth mingled worry 
and irritated disapproval He gyms mockingly.) Don’t look at 
me as if I’d gone nutty. I’m talking sense. Who wants to 
see life as it is, if they can help it? It’s the three Gorgons 
in one You look in them faces and turn to stone. Or it’s 
Pan You see him and you die — that is, inside you — and 
have to go on livmg as a ghost. 

TYRONE {mpressed and at the same time revolted). You have 

H II3 



a poet in you but it’s a damned morbid one! {Forcing a 
smile.) Devil take your pessirmsm. I feel low-spinted 
enough, {He sighs ) Why can’t you remember your 
Shakespeare and forget the third-raters^ You’ll find what 
you’re trymg to say m him — as you’ll find everything else 
worth saying {He quotes^ using his fine voice.) “We are such 
stuff as dreams are made on, and our htde hfe is rounded 
with a sleep.” 

EDMUND (zroniraZ) . Finel That’s beautiful. But I wasn’t 
trying to say that. We are such stuff as manure is made 
on, so let’s iink up and forget it. That’s more my idea. 

TYRONE {disgustedly). Ach' Keep such sentiments to 
yourself. I shouldn’t have given you that dnnk. 

EDMUND. It did pack a wallop, all nght On you, too. 
{He gnns with affectionate teasing ) Even if you’ve never 
missed a performance' {Aggressively ) Well, what’s wrong 
with being drunk? It’s what we’re after, isn’t it^ Let’s not 
kid each other. Papa Not tomght. We know what we’re 
trying to forget {Hurriedly.) But let’s not talk about it. 
It’s no use now. 

TYRONE {dully). No. All we can do is try to be resigned 
— again. 

EDMUND. Or be so drunk you can forget. {He rentes, and 
rentes well, with bitter, ironical passion, the Symons' translatwn 
of Baudelaire' s prose i)oem.) “Be always drunken. Nothing 
else matters’lHal TS' lfie only question. If you would not 
feel the horrible burden of Time waghing on your 
shoulders and crushing you to the earth, be drunken 
continually 

Drunken with what? With wine, with poetry, or with 
virtue, as you will. But be drunken. 

And if sometimes, on the stairs of a palace, or on the 
green side of a ditch, or in the dreary solitude of your own 

1 14 



room, you should awaken and the drunkenness be half or 
wholly shpped away from you, ask of the wind, or of the 
wave, or of the star, or of the bird, or of the clock, of 
whatever flies, or sighs, or rocks, or sings, or speaks, ask 
what hour it is, and the wind, wave, star, bird, dock, will 
answer you ‘It is the hour to be drunken! Be drunken, if 
you would not be martyred slaves of Time; be drunken 
continually I With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as 
you will ’ ” {He gnns at hts father provocatively.) 

TYRONE {thickly humorous). I wouldn’t worry about the 
virtue part of it, if I were you. {Then disgusted^ ) Pah! 
It’s morbid nonsense' What httle truth is in it you’ll find 
nobly said in Shakespeare. ( Then appreaatively ) But you 
reated it well, lad. Who wrote it? 

EDMUND. Baudelaire. 

TYRONE. Never heard of him. 

EDMUND {gnns provocatively). He also wrote a poem about 
Jamie and the Great White Way — 

TYRONE. That loafer' I hope to God he misses the last 
car and has to stay uptown' 

EDMUND {goes on, Ignoring this). Although he was French 
and never saw Broadway and died before Jamie was bom. 
He knew him and Little Old New York just the same. {He 
rentes the Symons’ translation of Baudelaire’ s ^‘Epilogue”.) 

“With heart at rest I chmbed the dtadd’s 
Steep height, and saw the city as from a tower, 
Hospital, brothel, prison, and such hells. 

Where evil comes up softly like a flower. 

Thou knowest, O Satan, patron of my pain. 

Not for vain tears I went up at that hour, 

“5 



But like an old sad faithful lecher, fain 
To dnnk dehght of that enormous trull 
Whose helhsh beauty makes me young again. 

Whether thou sleep, with heavy vapours full, 
Sodden with day, or, new apparelled, stand 
In gold-laced veils of evemng beautiful, 

I love thee, infamous city* Harlots and 
Hunted have pleasures of their own to give. 

The vulgar herd can never understand ” 

TYRONE (with irritable disgust). Morbid filth! Where the 
hell do you get your taste in hterature-* Filth and despair 
and pessimism* Another atheist, I suppose When you 
deny God, you deny hope. That’s the trouble with you. 
If you’d get down on your knees — 

EDMUND (as if he hadn’t heard — sardonually). It’s a good 
hkeness of Jamie, don’t you think, hunted by hims elf and 
whiskey, hiding in a Broadway hotel room with some fat 
tart — he hkes them fat — reating Dowson’s Cynara to 
her. (He rentes derisively, but with deep feeling.) 

“All mght upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat. 
Night-long withm mine arms in love and sleep she lay; 
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet; 
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion. 

When I awoke and found the dawn was gray: 

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara* in my fashion.” 

(Jeenngly.) And the poor fat burlesque queen doesn’t get 
a word of it, but suspects she’s being insulted* And Jamie 
never loved any Cynara, and was never faithful to a 
woman in his hfe, even in his fashion! But he hes there, 
kidding himself he is superior and enjoys pleasures “the 
vulgar herd can never understand” ! (He laughs.) It’s nuts 
— completely nuts! 

ii6 



TYRONE {vaguely — his voice thick). It’s madness, yes. If 
you’d get on your knees and pray. When you deny Grod, 
you deny samty. 

EDMUND {ignoring this). But who am I to feel superior^ 
IVe done the same damned thing. And it’s no more crazy 
than Dowson himself, inspired by an absinthe hangover, 
writing it to a dumb barmaid, who thought he was a poor 
crazy souse, and gave him the gate to marry a waiter! {He 
laughs — then soberly^ with genuine sympathy.) Poor Dowson 
Booze and consumption got him. {He starts and for a second 
looks miserable and frightened Then with defensive irony.) Per- 
haps it would be tactful of me to change the subject. 

TYRONE {thickly) . Where you get your taste in authors — 
That damned library of yours! {He indicates the small book- 
case at rear ) Voltaire, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, 
Ibsen! Atheists, fools, and madmen^ And your poets^ 
This Dowson, and this Baudelaire, and Swinburne and 
Oscar Wilde, and Whitman and Poe* Whoremongers and 
degenerates^ Pah^ When IVe three good sets of Shake- 
speare there {he nods at the large bookcase) you could read. 

EDMUND {provocatively). They say he was a souse, too. 

TYRONE. They he! I don’t doubt he liked his glass — 
it’s a good man’s faihng — - but he knew how to dnnk so it 
didn’t poison his brain with morbidness and filth Don’t 
compare him with the pack you’ve got in there. {He indi- 
cates the small bookcase again.) Your dirty Zola! And your 
Dante Gabnel Rossetti who was a dope fiend! {He starts 
and looks guilty.) 

EDMUND {with defensive dryruss). Perhaps it would be vdse 
to change the subject. {A pause ) You can’t accuse me of 
not knowing Shakespeare. Didn’t I win five dollais from 
you once when you bet me I couldn’t learn a leading part 
of his m a week, as you used to do in stock in the old days. 

117 



I learned Macbeth and recited it letter-perfect, with you 
giving me the cues. 

TYRONE {approvingly). That’s true. So you did. {He 
smiles teasingly and sighs ) It was a terrible ordeal, I remem- 
ber, hearmg you murder the hnes. I kept wishmg I’d paid 
over the bet without making you prove it {He chuckles and 
Edmund gnns. Then he starts as he hears a sound from upstairs — 
mth dread.) Did you hear^ She’s moving around. I was 
hoping she’d gone to sleep. 

EDMUND. Forget It' How about another dnnk^ {He 
reaches out and gets the bottle, pours a dnnk and hands it back 
Then with a strained casualness, as his father pours a dnnk.) 
When did Mama go to bed? 

TYRONE. Right after you left She wouldn’t eat any 
dinner. What made you ran away? 

EDMUND. Nothmg. {Abruptly raising his glass ) Well, 
here’s how. 

TYRONE {mechanically). Drink hearty, lad. 

{They dnnk. Tyrone again listens to sounds upstairs — 
with dread ) 

She’s moving around a lot. I hope to God she doesn’t 
come down. 

EDMUND {dully). Yes. She’ll be nothing but a ghost 
haunting the past by this time. {He pauses — then rtaserably.) 
Back before I was bom — 

TYRONE. Doesn’t she do the same with me'^ Back be- 
fore she ever knew me. You’d think the only happy days 
she’s ever known were in her father’s home, or at the Con- 
vent, praying and playmg the piano. {Jealous resentment in 
kts bitterness.) As I’ve told you before, you must take her 
memories with a gram of salt Her wonderful home was 

ii8 



ordinary enough. Her father wasn’t the great, generous, 
noble Irish gentleman she makes out. He was a nice 
enough man, good company and a good talker. I liked 
him and he hked me. He was prosperous enough, too, in 
his wholesale grocery business, an able man But he had 
his weakness She condemns my dnnking but she forgets 
his. It’s true he never touched a drop till he was forty, but 
after that he made up for lost time. He became a steady 
champagne drinker, the worst kind. That was his grand 
pose, to drink only champagne. Well, it fimshed him 
quick — that and the consumption — {He stops with a guilty 
glance at his son.) 

EDMUND {sardonically). We don’t seem able to avoid un- 
pleasant topics, do we? 

TYRONE {sighs sadly) . No. ( Then with a pathetic attempt at 
heartiness ) What do you say to a game or two of Casino, 
lad^ 

EDMUND. All right. 

TYRONE {shuffling the cards clumsily). We can’t lock up 
and go to bed till Jamie comes on the last trolley — which 
I hope he won’t — and I don’t want to go upstairs, any- 
way, till she’s asleep. 

EDMUND. Neither do I. 

TYRONE {keeps shuffling the cards fumbhnglyy forgetting to deal 
them) . As I was saying, you must take her tales of the past 
with a grain of salt. The piano playing and her dream of 
becoming a concert piamst. That was put in her head by 
the nuns flattenng her. She was their pet. They loved 
her for being so devout. They’re innocent women, any- 
way, when It comes to the world. They don’t know that 
not one m a million who shows promise ever rises to con- 
cert playing. Not that your mother didn’t play well for a 

119 



schoolgirl, but that’s no reason to take it for granted she 
could have — 

EDMUND {sharply). Why don’t you deal, if we’re going 
to play. 

TYRONE Eh^ I am. {Dealing with very uncertain judgment 
of distance.) And the idea she might have become a nun. 
That’s the worst Your mother was one of the most beau- 
tiful girls you could ever see. She knew it, too She was a 
bit of a rogue and a coquette, God bless her, behind all 
her shyness and blushes. She was never made to renounce 
the world. She was bursting with health and high spints 
and the love of loving. 

EDMUND. For God’s sake. Papa* Why don’t you pick 
up your hand? 

TYRONE {picks it up — dully). Yes, let’s see what I have 
here. 


{They both stare at their cards unseeingly. Then they 
both start. Tyrone whispers.) 

Listen! 

EDMUND. She’s coming downstairs. 

TYRONE {hurriedly). We’ll play our game. Pretend not 
to notice and she’ll soon go up again. 

EDMUND {staring through the front parlour — with relief). I 
don’t see her. She must have started down and then 
turned back. 

TYRONE. Thank God. 

EDMUND. Yes. It’s pretty horrible to see her the way she 
must be now. {With bitter misery ) The hardest thing to 
take is the blank wall she builds around her. Or it’s more 
like a bank of fog in which she hides and loses herself. 

120 



DeKberately, that’s the hell of it! You know something in 
her does it dehberately — to get beyond our reach, to be 
nd of us, to forget we’re alive! It’s as if, in spite of loving 
us, she hated usl 

TYRONE {remonstrates gently). Now, now, lad. It’s not 
her. It’s the damned poison, 

EDMtTND {biUerly), She takes it to get that effect. At 
least, I know she did this time! {Abruptly,) My play, isn’t 
It? Here. {He plays a card) 

TYRONE {plays mechanically ^ gently reproachful). She’s 
been terribly fhghtened about your illness, for all her pre- 
tending, Don’t be too hard on her, lad. Remember she’s 
not responsible. Once that cursed poison gets a hold on 
anyone — 

EDMUND {huface grows hard and he stares at his father with 
bitter accusatiori). It never should have gotten a hold on 
her! I know damned well she’s not to blame* And I know 
who is! You are* Your danrned stinginess* If you’d spent 
money for a decent doctor when she was so sick after I was 
born, she’d never have known morphine existed! Instead 
you put her in the hands of a hotel quack who wouldn’t 
admit his ignorance and took the easiest way out, not 
giving a damn what happened to her afterwards* All be- 
cause his fee was cheap! Another one of your bargains! 

TYRONE {stung — angrily). Be quiet! How dare you talk 
of something you know nothing about* {Trying to control 
his temper.) You must try to see my side of it, too, lad. 
How was I to know he was that kind of a doctor? He had 
a good reputation — 

EDMUND. Among the souses in the hotel bar, I suppose* 

TYRONE, That’s a lie! I asked the hotel proprietor to 
recommend the best — 


I2I 



EDMUND. Yes' At the same time crying poorhouse and 
making it plam you wanted a cheap one' I know your 
system' By God, I ought to after this afternoon! 

TYRONE {guiltily defensive). What about this afternoon? 

EDMUND. Never mind now We’re talking about 
Mama! I’m saying no matter how you excuse yourself 
you know damned well your stinginess is to blame — 

TYRONE. And I say you’re a har! Shut your mouth 
nght now, or — 

EDMUND {ignoring this). After you found out she’d been 
made a morphine addict, why didn’t you send her to a 
cure then, at the start, while she still had a chance^ No, 
that would have meant spending some money' I’ll bet 
you told her all she had to do was use a httle will-power' 
That’s what you still beheve in your heart, in spite of what 
doctors, who really know something about it, have told 
you! 

TYRONE. You he again! I know better than that now' 
But how was I to know then'!’ What did I know of mor- 
phine’’ It was years before I discovered what was wrong. 
I thought she’d never got over her sickness, that’s all. 
Why didn’t I send her to a cure, you say? {Bitterly.) 
Haven’t P I’ve spent thousands upon thousands in cures' 
A waste. What good have they done her? She always 
started again. 

EDMUND. Because you’ve never given her anything that 
would help her want to stay off it! No home except this 
summer dump in a place she hates and you’ve refused 
even to spend money to make this look decent, while you 
keep buying more property, and playing sucker for every 
con mzm with a gold mine, or a silver mine, or any kind of 
get-iich-quick swmdle! You’ve dragged her around on 
the road, season after season, on one-mght stands, with 

122 



no one she could talk to, waiting night after night in dirty 
hotel rooms for you to come back with a bun on after the 
bars closed! Ghnst, is it any wonder she didn’t want to 
be cured. Jesus, when I think of it I hate your guts* 

TYRONE [stnckenly). Edmund* {Then in a rage.) How 
dare you talk to your father hke that, you insolent young 
cub! After all I’ve done for you. 

EDMUND. We’ll come to that, what you’re doing for me! 

TYRONE {looking guilty again — ignores this). Will you stop 
repeating your mother’s crazy accusations, which she 
never makes unless it’s the poison talking? I never dragged 
her on the road against her will Naturally, I wanted her 
with me. I loved her. And she came because she loved 
me and wanted to be with me. That’s the truth, no mat- 
ter what she says when she’s not heiself. And she needn’t 
have been lonely. There was always the members of my 
company to talk to, if she’d wanted. She had her children, 
too, and I insisted, m spite of the expense, on having a 
nurse to travel with her. 

EDMUND {bitterly). Yes, your one generosity, and that 
because you were jealous of her paying too much attention 
to us, and wanted us out of your way* It was another mis- 
take, too* If she’d had to take care of me all by herself, 
and had that to occupy her mind, maybe she’d have been 
able — 

TYRONE {goaded inio vindictiveness). Or for that matter, if 
you insist on judging things by what she says when she’s 
not in her right mind, if you hadn’t been bom she’d 
never — {He stops ashamed.) 

EDMUND {suddenly spent and miserably). Sure. I know 
that’s what she feels. Papa. 

TYRONE {protests penitently). She doesn’t! She loves you 

123 



as dearly as ever mother loved a son' I only said that be- 
cause you put me m such a God-damned rage, raking up 
the past, and saying you hate me — 

EDMUND {didly). I didn’t mean it. Papa {He suddenly 
smiles — kidding a bit drunkenly.) I’m hke Mama, I can’t 
help hking you, in spite of everything. 

TYRONE {gnns a bit drunkenly in return). I might say the 
same of you. You’re no great shakes as a son. It’s a case 
of “A poor thing but mine own ” 

{They both chuckle with real, if alcoholic, affection. 
Tyrone changes the subject ) 

What’s happened to our game? Whose play is it? 

EDMUND. Yours, I gucss. 

{Tyrone plays a card which Edmund takes and the game 
gets forgotten again.) 

TYRONE You mustn’t let yourself be too downhearted, 
lad, by the bad news you had today. Both the doctors 
proimsed me, if you obey orders at this place you’re going, 
you’ll be cured in six months, or a year at most. 

EDMUND {his face hard agait^. Don’t kid me. You don’t 
beheve that. 

TYRONE {too vehemently). Of course I beheve it! Why 
shouldn’t I beheve it when both Hardy and the 
specialist — ? 

EDMUND. You think I’m going to die. 

TYRONE. That’s a he! You’re crazy! 

EDMUND {more bitterly) So why waste money? That’s 
why you’re sending me to a state farm — 

TYRONE (mi gjulty cotfusion). What state farm? It’s the 

124 



Hilltown Sanatonum, that’s all I know, and both doctons 
said It was the best place for you. 

EDMUND {scathingly). For the money! That is, for noth- 
mg, or practically nothmg. Don’t he. Papa' You know 
damned well HiUtown Sanatonum is a state institution' 
Jamie suspected you’d cry poorhouse to Hardy and he 
wormed the truth out of ham. 

TYRONE {furiously). That drunken loafer' I’ll kick him 
out in the gutter' He’s poisoned your mind against me 
ever since you were old enough to hsten! 

EDMUND. You can’t deny it’s the truth about the state 
farm, can you? 

TYRONE It’s not true the way you look at it' What if 
It IS run by the state-* That’s nothing against it The state 
has the money to make a better place than any pnvate 
sanatorium. And why shouldn’t I take advantage of it'* 
It’s my right — and yours We’re residents. I’m a prop- 
erty owner. I help to support it. I’m taxed to death — 

EDMUND {unth bitter irony). Yes, on property valued at a 
quarter of a noillion. 

TYROUTE. lies! It’s all mortgaged! 

EDMUND. Hardy and the specialist know what you’re 
worth. I wonder what they thought of you when they 
heard you moaning poorhouse and showmg you wanted 
to wish me on chanty! 

TYRONE. It’s a lie' All I told them was I couldn’t afford 
any millionaire’s sanatorium because I was land poor. 
That’s the truth! 

EDMUND. And then you went to the Club to meet 
McGuire and let him stick you with another bum piece of 

125 



property! {As Tyrone starts to deny.) Don’t lie about it! We 
met McGuire m the hotel bar after he left you Jaime 
kidded him about hooking you, and he winked and 
laughed* 

TYRONE {lying feebly). He’s a liar if he said — 

EDMUND. Don’t lie about it* {With gathering intensity.) 
God, Papa, ever since I went to sea and was on my own, 
and found out what hard work for httle pay was, and what 
It felt hke to be broke, and starve, and camp on park 
benches because I had no place to sleep. I’ve tned to be 
fair to you because I knew what you’d been up against as 
a kid I’ve tned to make allowances. Chnst, you have 
to make allowances in this damned family or go nuts* I 
have tried to make allowances for myself when I remem- 
ber all the rotten stuff I’ve pulled! I’ve tried to feel hke 
Mama that you can’t help being what you are where 
money is concerned But God Almighty, this last stunt 
of yours is too much! It makes me want to puke* Not 
because of the rotten way you’re treating me. To hell with 
that! I’ve treated you rottenly, in my way, more than 
once. But to think when it’s a question of your son having 
consumption, you can show yourself up before the whole 
town as such a stinking old tightwad* Don’t you know 
Hardy wiU talk and the whole damned town will know? 
Jesus, Papa, haven’t you any pride or shame? {Bursting 
with rage.) And don’t think I’ll let you get away with it* 
I won’t go to any damned state farm just to save you a 
few lousy dollars to buy more bum property with* You 
stinking old miser — * {He chokes huskily^ hzs voice trembling 
with rage^ and then is shaken by a fit of coughing. 

TYRONE {has shank back in his chair under this attack^ hu 
guilty contrition greater than his anger. He stammm) . Be qmet * 
Don’t say that to me! You’re drunk* I won’t mind you. 
Stop coughing, lad. You’ve got yourself worked up over 

126 



nothing. Who said you had to go to this Hilltown place? 
You can go anywhere you hke. I don't give a damn what 
It costs. All I care about is to have you get weH. Don’t call 
me a stinking miser, just because I don’t want doctors to 
think Fm a milhonaire they can swindle. 

{Edmund has stopped coughing. He looks sick and weak. 
His father stares at him fnghtenedly,) 

You look weak, lad You’d better take a bracer. 

EDMUND {grabs the bottle and pours his glass brimful-- 
weakly). Thanks. {He gulps down the whiskey,) 

TYRONE {pours himself a big drvnk^ which empties the bottle^ 
and dnnks it. His head bows and he stares dully at the cards on 
the table — vaguely). Whose play is it? {He goes on dully, 
without resentment,) A stinking old miser. Well, maybe 
you’re right. Maybe I can’t help being, although all my 
hfe since I had anything I’ve thrown money over the bar 
to buy dnnks for everyone in the house, or loaned money 
to sponges I knew would never pay it back— {With a 
loose-mouthed sneer of self contempt,) But, of course, that was 
in bar-rooms, when I was full of whiskey. I can’t feel that 
way about it when I’m sober in my home. It was at home 
I first learned the value of a dollar and the fear of the poor- 
house. I’ve never been able to beheve in my luck since. 
I’ve always feared it would change and everything I had 
would be taken away. But still, the more property you 
own, the safer you think you are. That may not be logical, 
but it’s the way I have to feel. Banks fail, and your 
money’s gone, but you think you can keep land beneath 
your feet. {Abruptly his tone becomes scornfully superior ) You 
said you reahzed what I’d been up against as a boy. The 
heU you do^ How could you^ You’ve had eveiything — 
nurses, schools, college, though you didn’t stay there. 
You’ve had food, clothing. Oh, I know you had a fling 

197 



of hard work with your back and hands, a bit of being 
homeless and penmless m a foreign land, and I respect 
you for It. But it was a game of romance and adventure 
to you. It was play. 

EDMUND {dully sarcastic). Yes, particularly the time I 
tned to commit smade at Jimmie the Pnest’s, and almost 
did. 

TYRONE. You weren’t in your right mind. No son of 
min e would ever — You were drunk 

EDMUND I was stone cold sober. That was the trouble. 
I’d stopped to think too long. 

TYRONE {with drunken peevishness) Don’t start your 
damned atheist morbidness again' I don’t care to hsten 
I was trying to make plain to you — {Scornfully ) What do 
you know of the value of a dollar^ When I was ten my 
father deserted my mother and went back to Ireland to 
die Which he did soon enough, and deserved to, and I 
hope he’s roasting in hell. He imstook rat poison for flour, 
or sugar, or something. There was gossip it wasn’t by 
mistake iDut that’s a he. No one in my family ever — 

EDMUND. My bet is, it wasn’t by mistake. 

TYRONE. More morbidness! Your brother put that in 
your head. The worst he can suspect is the only truth for 
him. But never mind. My mother was left:, a stranger in 
a strange land, with four small children, me and a sister 
a httle older and two younger than me. My two older 
brothers had moved to other parts. They couldn’t help. 
They were hard put to it to keep themselves ahve. There 
was no damned romance in our poverty. Twice we were 
evicted from the miserable hovel we called home, with 
my mother’s few sticks of furmture thrown out in the 
street, and my mother and sisters crying. I cned, too, 

128 



though I tned hard not to, because I was the man of the 
family. At ten years old^ There was no more school for 
me. I worked twelve hours a day in a machine shop, 
learmng to make files. A dirty barn of a place where rain 
dnpped through the roof, where you roasted in summer, 
and there was no stove in winter, and your hands got 
numb with cold, where the only hght came through two 
small filthy windows, so on grey days I*d have to sit bent 
over with my eyes almost touching the files in order to see! 
You talk of work’ And what do you thmk I got for it^ 
Fifty cents a week’ It’s the truth! Fifty cents a week! And 
my poor mother washed and scrubbed for the Yanks by 
the day, and my older sister sewed, and my two younger 
stayed at home to keep the house. We never had clothes 
enough to wear, nor enough food to eat. Well I remember 
one Thanksgiving, or maybe it was Christmas, when some 
Yank in whose house mother had been scrubbmg gave her 
a dollar extra for a present, and on the way home she 
spent It all on food. I can remember her hugging and 
kissing us and saying with tears of joy running down her 
tired face: *'Glory be to God, for once in our lives we’ll 
have enough for each of us {He wipes tears from hu eyes.) 
A fine, brave, sweet woman. There never was a braver or 
finer. 

EDMUND {moved). Yes, she must have been. 

TYRONE. Her one fear was she’d get old and sick and 
have to die in the poorhouse. {He pauses — then adds with 
gnm humour.) It was in those days I learned to be a miser. 
A dollar was worth so much then. And once you’ve 
learned a lesson, it’s hard to unlearn it. You have to look 
for bargains. If I took this state farm sanatorium for a 
good bargain, you’ll have to forgive me. The doctors did 
tell me it’s a good place. You must believe that, Edmund. 
And I swear I never meant you to go there if you didn’t 
want to. {Vehemently.) You can choose any place you like! 

I 129 



Never mind what it costs! Any place I can alford. Any 
place you like — withm reason. 

(At this qualification, a gnn twitches Edmund's hps. His 
resentment has gone. His father goes on with an 
elaborately offhand, casual air ) 

There was another sanatonum the speaahst recom- 
mended. He said it had a record as good as any place in 
the country. It’s endowed by a group of milhonaire fac- 
tory owners, for the benefit of their workers pnncipaUy, 
but you’re ehgible to go there because you’re a resident. 
There’s such a pile of money behind it, they don’t have to 
charge much. It’s only seven dollars a week but you get 
ten times that value. (Hastily.) I don’t want to persuade 
you to anythmg, imderstand. I’m simply repeating what 
I was told. 

EDMUND (concealing his smile — casually) . Oh, I know that. 
It sounds hke a good bargam to me I’d hke to go there. 
So that settles that (Abruptly he is miserably desperate again — 
duUy ) It doesn’t matter a damn now, anyway. Let’s 
forget It* (Changing the subject.) How about our game? 
Whose play is it? 

TYRONE (mechanically). I don’t know. Mine, I guess. 
No, it’s yours. 

(Edmund plays a card. His father takes it. Then about 
to play from fas hand, he agcan forgets the game.) 

Yes, maybe hfe overdid the lesson for me, and made a 
dollar worth too much, and the time came when that mis- 
take rmned my career as a fine actor. (Sadly.) I’ve never 
admitted this to anyone before, lad, but tonight I’m so 
heartsick I feel at the end of everything, and what’s the 
use of fake pride and pretence. That God-damned play 
I bought for a song and made such a great success in — a 
great money success — it ruined me with its promise of an 

130 



easy fortune. 1 didn’t want to do anything else, and by 
the time I woke up to the fact I’d become a slave to the 
damned thing and did try other plays, it was too late. 
They had identified me with that one part, and didn’t 
want me m anything else. They were nght, too. I’d lost 
the great talent I once had through years of easy repeti- 
tion, never learning a new part, never really working hard. 
Thirty-five to forty thousand dollars net profit a season 
hke snapping your fingers' It was too great a temptation. 
Yet before I bought the damned thing I was considered 
one of the three or four young actors with the greatest 
artistic promise m Amenca. I’d worked hke hell. I’d left 
a good job as a machimst to take supers’ parts because I 
loved the theatre. I was wild with ambition. I read all 
the plays ever written I studied Shakespeare as you’d 
study the Bible. I educated myself. I got nd of an Irish 
brogue you could cut with a knife. I loved Shakespeare. 
I would have acted in any of his plays for nothing, for the 
joy of being ahve in his great poetry. And I acted well in 
him I felt inspired by him. I could have been a great 
Shakespearean actor, if I’d kept on. I know that! In 1874 
when Edwin Booth came to the theatre in Chicago where 
I was leadmg man, I played Cassius to his Brutus one 
mght, Brutus to his Cassius the next, Othdlo to his lago, 
and so on. The first mght I played Othello, he said to our 
manager, “That young man is playmg Othello better than 
I ever did'” {Proudly) That firom Booth, the greatest 
actor of his day or any odierl And it was true! And I was 
only twenty-seven years old! As I look back on it now, 
that mght was the high spot in my career. I had life where 
I wanted it! And for a time after that I kept on upward 
with ambition high. Mamed your mother. Ask her what 
I was like in those days Her love was an added incentive 
to ambition. But a few years later my good bad luck made 
me find the big money-maker. It wasn’t that in my eyes 
at first. It w^ a great romantic part I knew I could play 

131 



better than anyone. But it was a great box-office success 
from the start — and then hfe had me where it wanted me 
— at from thirty-five to forty thousand net profit a season! 
A fortune in those days— -or even in these. {Bitterly,) 
What the hell was it I wanted to buy, I wonder, that was 
worth — Well, no matter It’s a late day for regrets. {He 
glances vaguely at his cards ) My play, isn’t it^ 

EDMUND {movedy stares at his father with understanding-- 
slowly), I’m glad you’ve told me this. Papa I know you 
a lot better now. 

TYRONE {with a loosCy twisted smile). Maybe I shouldn’t 
have told you. Maybe you’ll only feel more contempt for 
me. And it’s a poor way to convince you of the value of a 
dollar ( Then as if this phrase automatically aroused an habitual 
association in his mindy he glances up at the chandelier disapprov-^ 
ingly.) The glare from those extra lights hurts my eyes 
You don’t mind if I turn them out, do you^ We don’t 
need them, and there’s no use making the Electric Com- 
pany nch. 

EDMUND {controlling a wild impulse to laugh — agreeably). 
No, sure not Turn them out. 

TYRONE {gets heavily and a bit waveringly to his feet and gropes 
uncertainly for the lights — his mind going back to its line of 
thought). No, I don’t know what the hell it was I wanted 
to buy, {He clicks out one bulb ) On my solemn oath, Ed- 
mund, I’d gladly face not having an acre of land to call 
my own, nor a penny in the bani — {He clicks out another 
bulb ) I’d be wilhng to have no home but the poorhouse 
m my old age if I could look back now on having been the 
fine artist I might have been. 

{He turns out the third bulby so only the reading lamp is 
ony and sits down again heavily Edmund suddenly 
cannot hold back a burst of strainedy ironical 
laughter, Tyrone u hurt.) 



What the devil are you laughing at? 

/ 

EDMUND. Not at you, Papa. At hfe. It’s so damned 
crazy. 

TYRONE {growls). More of your morbidness^ There’s 
nothing wrong with hfe. It’s we who— {He quotes) “The 
fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves that 
we are underhngs.” {He pauses^ then sadly ) The praise 
Edwin Booth gave my Othello. I made the manager put 
down his exact words in writing. I kept it in my wallet 
for years I used to read it every once in a while until 
finally it made me feel so bad I didn’t want to face it any 
more. Where is it now, I wonder^ Somewhere in this 
house. I remember I put it away carefully — 

EDMUND {with a wry ironical sadness). It might be in an 
old trunk in the attic, along with Mama’s wedding dress. 
{Then as his father stares at him^ he adds quickly ) For Pete’s 
sake, if we’re going to play cards, let’s play. 

{He takes the card his father had played and leads For a 
moment^ they play the gamcy like mechanical chess 
players. Then Tyrone stopSy listening to a sound 
upstairs^ 

TYRONE. She’s still moving around. God knows when 
she’ll go to sleep. 

EDMUND {pleads tensely). For Christ’s sake, Papa, forget it! 

{He reaches out and pours a dnnk. Tyrone starts to pro- 
testy then gives it up. Edmund dnnks. He puts down 
the glass His expression changes. When he speaks 
it is as if he were deliberately giving way to drunken- 
ness and seeking to hide behind a maudlin manner.) 

Yes, she moves above and beyond us, a ghost haunting the 
past, and here we sit pretending to forget, but straining 

133 



oiir ears listemng for the shghtest sound, hearing the fog 
dnp from the eaves like the uneven tick of a rundown, 
crazy clock — or hke the dreary tears of a trollop spatter- 
ing in a puddle of stale beer on a honky-tonk table top' 
{He laughs mth maudlin appreciation.) Not so bad, that last, 
eh'* Onginal, not Baudelaire. Give me credit' {Thenmth 
alcoholic talkativeness.) You’ve just told me some lugh spots 
in your memones. Want to hear mine'* They’re all con- 
nected with the sea. Here’s one When I was on the 
Squarehead square ngger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full 
moon m the Trades. The old hooker dnvmg fourteen 
knots I lay on the bowspnt, facing astern, with the water 
foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail 
white in the moonhght, towering high above me I be- 
came drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and 
for a moment I lost myself — actually lost my hfe. I was 
set free' I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and 
flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moon- 
light and the ship and the high dim-starred sky' I be- 
longed, without past or future, withm peace and umty 
and a wild joy, within somethmg greater than my own 
hfe, or the hfe of Man, to Life itself To God, if you want 
to put it that way. Then another time, on the Amencan 
Line, when 1 was lookout on the crow’s nest m the dawn 
watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy groimd swell 
and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep 
and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black 
smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. 
Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feehng alone, and above, 
and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream 
over Ae sky and sea which slept together. Then the mo- 
ment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the 
quest, the last harbour, the joy of belonging to a fulfilment 
beyond men’s lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and 
dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was 
swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had 

134 



the same experience Became the sun, the hot sand, green 
seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying m the tide. Like a 
saint’s vision of beatitude Like the veil of things as they 
seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you 
see — and seemg the secret, are the secret. For a second 
there is meamng' Then the hand lets the veil fall and you 
are alone, lost in the fog agam, and you stumble on to- 
ward nowhere, for no good reason! {He gnns rviyly ) It 
was a great mistake, my bemg bom a man, I would have 
been much more successful as a sea-gull or a fish. As it is, 
I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who 
does not really want and is not really wanted, who can 
never belong, who must always be a little in love with 
death! 

TYRONE (stares at him — impressed). Yes, there’s the mak- 
ings of a poet in you all nght. (Then protesting uneasily.) 
But that’s morbid crazmess about not bemg wanted and 
lovmg death. 

EDMUND (sardonically). The makings of a poet. No, I’m 
afraid I’m like the guy who is always panhandhng for a 
smoke. He hasn’t even got the makings. He’s got only 
the habit. I couldn’t touch what I tned to tell you just 
now. I just stammered That’s the best I’ll ever do. I 
mean, if I hve. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. 
Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people. 

(A pause. Then th^ both jump startUdly as there is a 
noise from outside the house, as if someotu had 
stumbled and fallen on the front steps, Ednaend 
gpns.) 

Well, that sounds like the absent brotha*. He must have 
a peach of a bun on. 

TYRONE (scowling). That loafer! He caught the last 
car, bad luck to it. (He gets to fas feet.) Glet him to bed, 

135 



Edmund Fll go out on the porch. He has a tongue hke 
an adder when he’s drunk. I’d only lose my temper. 

{He goes out of the door to the side porch as the front door in 
the hall bangs shut behind Jamie, Edmund watches 
with amusement Jamiis wavering progress through 
the front parlour. Jamie comes in He is very drunk 
and woozy on his legs His eyes are glassy^ his face 
bloated^ his speech blurred^ his mouth slack like his 
father'^ s^ a leer on his lips.) 

JAMIE {swaying and blinking in the doorway -—in a loud voice). 
What ho^ What ho^ 

EDMUND {sharply). Nix on the loud noise* 

]AMi& {blinks at him). Oh, hello, Kid. [With great senouS’- 
ness ) I’m as drunk as a fiddler’s bitch. 

EDMUND {dryly). Thanks for telhng me your great secret. 

JAMIE {grins foolishly). Yes Unnecessary information 
Number One, eh? {He bends and slaps at the knees of his 
trousers.) Had serious accident. The fron’ steps tned to 
trample on me. Took advantage of fog to waylay me 
Ought to be a hghthouse out there. Dark in here, too 
{Scowling ) What the hell is this, the morgue^ Lesh have 
some hght on sibject. {He sways forward to the table^ reciting 
Kipling.) 

*Tord, ford, ford o’ Kabul river, 

Ford o’ Kabul nver m the dark! 

Keep the crossing-stakes beside you, an’ they will surely 
gmde you 

’Cross the ford o’ Kabul nver in the dark.” 

{He fumbles at the chandelier and manages to turn on the three 
bulbs.) Thash more hke it. To hell with old Gaspard. 
Where is the old tightwad? 

EDMUND. Out on the porch. 

136 



JAMEE. Can’t expect us to live in the Black Hole of Cal- 
cutta, {Hts eyes fix on the fiill bottle of whisky.) Say! Have 
I got the d t.’s^ {He reaches out fumhlingly and grabs it.) By 
God, It’s real. What’s matter with the Old Man tonight^ 
Must be ossified to forget he left this out. Grab oppor- 
tumty by the forelock. Key to my success. {He slops a big 
dnnk into a glass.) 

EDMUND. You’re stinking now. That will knock you 
stiff. 

JAMIE. Wisdom from the mouth of babes. Can the wise 
stuff. Kid. You’re still wet behind the ears. {He lowers 
himself into a chair, holding the dnnk carefully aloft ) 

EDMUND. All right. Pass out if you want to. 

JAMIE Can’t, that’s trouble. Had enough to sink a ship, 
but can’t sink WcU, here’s hoping. {He dnnks.) 

EDMUND. Shove over the bottle. I’ll have one, too, 

JAMIE {with sudden, big-brotherly solicitude, grabbing the 
bottle) . No, you don’t. Not while I’m around. Remember 
doctor’s orders Maybe no one else gives a damn if you 
die, but I do. My kid brother. I love your guts. Kid, 
Everything else is gone. You’re all I’ve got left. {Puling 
bottle closer to him.) So no booze for you, if I can help it. 
{Beneath his drunken sentimentality there is a genuine smcenty.) 

EDMUND {imtably). Oh, lay off it. 

JAMIE {ts hurt and kis face hardens). You don’t beheve I 
care, eh? Just dr u nken buU. {He shoves the bottle over.) All 
nght. Go ahead and kill yourself. 

EDMUND {seeing he is hurt — affectionately). Sure I know 
you care, Jamie, and I’m going on the wagon. But to- 
mght doesn’t count. Too many damned things have hap- 
pened today. {He pours a drink.) Here’s how. {He drmks.) 

137 



JAMIE {sobers up momentarily and with a pitying look). I 
know, Kid It’s been a lousy day for you. {Then with 
sneering cynicism ) I’ll bet old Gaspard hasn’t tned to keep 
you off booze. Probably give you a case to take with you 
to the state farm for pauper patients. The sooner you kick 
the bucket, the less expense {With contemptuous hatred) 
What a bastard to have for a father* Christ, if you put bun 
in a book, no one would beheve it* 

EDMUND {defensively). Oh, Papa’s all right, if you try to 
understand him — and keep your sense of humour. 

JAMIE {cynically). He’s been putting on the old sob act 
for you, eh^ He can always kid you But not me. Never 
again. {Then slowly ) Although, in a way, I do feel sorry 
for him about one thing But he has even that coming to 
him. He’s to blame. {Hurriedly ) But to heU with that. 
{He grabs the bottle and pours another dnnk, appearing very 
drunk again.) That lash dnnk’s gettmg me. This one ought 
to put the hghts out. Did you teU Gaspard I got it out of 
Doc Hardy this sanatonum is a chanty dump'!* 

EDMUND {reluctantly). Yes. I told him I wouldn’t go 
there. It’s Jill settled now. He said I can go anywhere I 
want. {He adds, smiling without resentment ) Within reason, 
of course. 

JAMIE {drunkenly imitating his father). Of course, lad 
Anything within reason. {Sneering.) That means another 
cheap dump. Old Gaspard, the miser in “The Bells”, 
that’s a part he can play without make-up. 

EDMUND {irritably). Oh, shut up, will you. I’ve heard 
that Gaspard stuff a million times. 

JAMIE {shrugs hts shoulders — thickly). Aw right, if you’re 
shatisfied — let him get away with it. It’s your funeral — 
I mean, I hope it won’t be. 

138 



EDMUND [changing the subject). What did you do uptown 
tonight^ Go to Manue Bums^ 

JAMIE [very drunk, his head nodding) . Sure thing. Where 
else could I find smtable feminine compamonship? And 
love. Don’t forget love. What is a man without a good 
woman’s love? A God-damned hollow shell. 

EDMUND [chuckles tipsily, letting himself go now and be drunk). 
You’re a nut. 

JAMIE [quotes mth gusto from Oscar Wilde's ^‘The Harlot's 
House"). 

“Then, turning to my love, I said, 

‘The dead are danang with the dead. 

The dust is whirhng with the dust,’ 

But she — she heard the violm, 

And left my side and entered m: 

Love passed mto the house of lust. 

Then suddenly the tune went false, 

The dancers weaned of the waltz . . .” 

[He breaks off, thickly.) Not stnctly accurate. If my love 
was with me, I didn’t notice it. She must have been a 
ghost. [He pauses) Guess which one of Mamie’s charmers 
I picked to bless me with her woman’s love. It’ll hand you 
a laugh. Kid I picked Fat Violet. 

EDMUND [laughs drunkenly). No, honest^ Some pick! 
God, she weighs a ton. What the hell for, a j’okc'* 

JAMIE. No joke. Very senous By the time I hit 
Mamie’s dump I felt very sad about myself and aU the 
other poor bums in the world. Ready for a weep on any 
old womanly bosom You know how you get when John 
Barleycorn turns on the soft music inside you. Then, soon 

139 



as I got in the door, Mamie began telling me all her 
troubles. Beefed how rotten business was, and she was 
going to give Fat Violet the gate Customers didn’t fall 
for Vi. Only reason she’d kept her was she could play the 
piano. Lately Vi’s gone on drunks and been too boiled to 
play, and was eating her out of house and home, and 
although Vi was a goodhearted dumbbell, jind she felt 
sorry for her because she didn’t know how the hell she’d 
make a hving, still business was business, and she couldn’t 
afford to run a home for fat tarts Well, that made me 
feel sorry for Fat Violet, so I squandered two bucks of 
your dough to escort her upstairs. With no dishonourable 
intentions whatever I hke them fat, but not that fat All 
I wanted was a htde heart-to-heart talk concermng the 
infimte sorrow of hfe. 

EDMUND {chuckles drunkenly). Poor Vi! I’ll bet you re- 
cited Kipling and Swmbume and Dowson and gave her 
“I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion.” 

JAMIE {grins loosely). Sure — with the Old Master, John 
Barleycorn, playing soft music She stood it for a while 
Then she got good and sore. Got the idea I took her up- 
stairs for a joke. Gave me a grand bawhng out Said she 
was better than a drunken bum who reated poetry. Then 
she began to cry. So I had to say I loved her because she 
was fiit, and she wanted to behevc that, and I stayed with 
her to prove it, and that cheered her up, and she kissed 
me when I left, and said she’d fallen hard for me, and we 
both cried a httle more m the hallway, and everything 
was fine, except Mamie Burns thought I’d gone bughouse. 

EDMUND {quotes derisively). 

“Harlots and 

Hunted have pleasures of their own to give, 

The vulgar herd can never understand.” 

jAme, {nods hu head drunkenlj/). Egzactlyl Hell of a good 

140 



time, at that. You should have stuck around with me. 
Kid. Mamie Bums mquired after you. Sorry to hear you 
were sick. She meant it, too. {He pauses— then mth a 
maudlin humour, in a ham-actor tone.) This mght has opened 
my eyes to a great career in store for me, my boy! I shall 
give the art of acting back to the perfomung seds, which 
are its most perfect expression. By applying my natural 
God-given talents in their proper sphere, I shall attain the 
pmnacle of success' I’ll be the lover of the fat woman in 
Bamum and Bailey’s circus! 

{Edmund laughs. Jamids mood changes to arrogant 
disdain ) 

Pah' Imagine me sunk to the fat girl in a hick town 
hooker shop! Me' Who have made some of the best- 
lookers on Broadway sit up and beg' {He quotes from Kip- 
ling s “Sestina of the Tramp-RojaP' .) 

“Speakin’ in general, I ’ave tried ’em aH, 

The ’appy roads that take you o’er the world.” 

{With sodden melancholy) Not so apt. Happy roads is bunk. 
Weary roads is nght Get you nowhere fast That’s 
where I’ve got — nowhere. Where everyone lands in the 
end, even if most of the suckers won’t ainit it. 

EDMUND {derisively). Can it! You’ll be crying m a 
mmute. 

JAMIE {starts and stares at his brother for a second with bitter 
hostility — thickly). Don’t get — too damned fresh. {Then 
abruptly^ But you’re right. To hell with repining! Fat 
Violet’s a good kid. Glad I stayed with her. Christian 
act. Cured her blues. Hell of a good time. You should 
have stuck with me, Kid. Taken your mind off your 
troubles. What’s the use conung home to get the Hues 
over what can’t be helped. Mover — finished now — not 

141 



a hope * {He stops ^ his head nodding drunkenly^ his eyes closing — 
then suddenly he looks up^ his face hard^ and quotes jeenngly ) 

I were hanged on the highest hill. 

Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine* 

I know whose love would follow me still ...” 

{violently). Shut up* 

JAMIE {in a cruely sneering tone with hatred in if). Where’s 
the hophead? Gone to sleeps 

{Edmund jerks as if he^d been struck There is a tense 
silence. Edmund^ s face looks stricken and sick. 
Then in a burst of rage he springs from his chair.) 

EDMUND. You dirty bastard* 

{He punches his brother in the faccy a blow that glances off 
the cheekbone For a second Jamie reacts pugnaci- 
ously and half rises from his chair to do battle y but 
suddenly he seems to sober up to a shocked realization 
of what he has said and he sinks back Imply ) 

JAMIE {miserably). Thanks, Kid. I certainly had that 
coming. Don’t know what made me — booze talking — 
You know me, Kad. 

EDMUND {his anger ebbing). I know you’d never say that 
unless — But God, Jamie, no matter how drunk you are. 
It’s no excuse! {He pauses — miserably.) I’m sorry I hit 
you. You and I never scrap ■— that bad. {He sinks back on 
his chair ) 

JAMIE {huskily). It’s all nght. Glad you did. My dirty 
tongue. Like to cut it out. {He hides his face in his hands — 
dully.) I suppose it’s because I feel so damned sunk. Be- 
cause this time Mama had me fooled I really believed 
she had it hcked. She thinks I always believe the worst, 

142 



but this time I believed the best. {Hts voice flutters ) I sup- 
pose I can’t forgive her — yet. It meant so much I’d 
begun to hope, if she’d beaten the game, I could, too. {He 
begins to sob, and the homble part of his weeping is that it 
appears sober, not the maudlin tears of drunkenness ) 

EDMUND [blinking back tears himself). God, don’t I know 
how you feel' Stop it, Jaime! 

JAMIE [trying to control his sobs). I’ve known about Mama 
so much longer than you. Never forget the first time I got 
wise Caught her in the act with a hypo Christ, I’d never 
dreamed before that any women but whores took dope' 
[He pauses.) And then this stuff of you getting consump- 
tion. It’s got me hcked. We’ve been more than brothers. 
You’re the only pal I’ve ever had. I love your guts. I’d 
do anythmg for you. 

EDMUND [reaches out and pats his arm). I know that, 
Janue. 

JAMIE [his crying over — drops his hands from his face — with 
a strange bitterness). Yet I’ll bet you’ve heard Mama and 
old Gaspard spill so much bunk about my hoping for the 
worst, you suspect right now I’m thinking to myself that 
Papa is old and can’t last much longer, and if you were to 
die. Mama and I would get all he’s got, and so I’m prob- 
ably hoping — 

’Esmsjrm [indignantly). Shut up, you damned fixil! What 
the hell put that in your nut? [He stares at his brother accus- 
ingly.) Yes, that’s what I’d like to know. What put that 
m your mind'* 

JAMIE [confusedly — appearing drunk again). Don’t be a 
dumbbell' What I said' Always suspected of hoping for 
the worst. I’ve got so I can’t help — [Then drunkenly re- 
sentjul.) What are you trying to do, accuse me'* Don’t 
play the wise guy with me' I’ve learned more of life than 

143 



you’ll ever know' Just because you’ve read a lot of high- 
brow junk, don’t think you can fool me' You’re only an 
overgrown kid' Mama’s baby and Papa’s pet' The family 
White Hope' You’ve been getting a swelled head lately. 
About nothing' About a few poems in a hick town news- 
paper' Hell, I used to wnte better stuff for the Lit 
magazine in college' You better wake up ' You’re setting 
no nvers on fire' You let hick town boobs flatter you with 
bunk about your future — 

{Abruptly his tone changes to disgusted contrition. Ed- 
mund has looked away from him, trying to ignore 
this tirade.) 

HeU, Kid, forget it That goes for Sweeny. You know I 
don’t mean it No one is prouder you’ve started to make 
good. {Drunkenly assertive ) Why shouldn’t I be proud'* 
Hell, it’s purely selfish. You reflect credit on me. I’ve 
had more to do with bnngmg you up than anyone. I 
wised you up about women, so you’d never be a fall guy, 
or make any mistakes you didn’t want to make' And who 
steered you on to reading poetry first'* Swinburne, for 
example? I did' And because I once wanted to write, I 
planted it in your mind that someday you’d write! Hell, 
you’re more than my brother. I made you' You’re my 
Frankenstem! 

{He has risen to a note of drunken arrogance. Edmund is 
gnnmng with amusement now.) 

EDMXJND All nght, I’m your Frankenstein. So let’s 
have a dnnk. {He laughs.) You crazy nut' 

JAMIE {thickly). I’ll have a drink. Not you. Got to take 
care of you. {He reaches out mth a foolish gnn of doting affec- 
tion and grabs his brother's hand.) Don’t be scared of this 
sanatonum business. Hell, you can beat that standing 
on your head. Six months and you’ll be in the pink. Prob- 

*44 



ably haven’t got consumption at all. Doctors lot of fakers. 
Told me years ago to cut out booze or I’d soon be dead — 
and here I am. They’re all con men. Anything to grab 
your dough. I’ll bet this state farm stuff is pohtical graft 
game. Doctors get a cut for every patient they send. 

EDMUND {disgustedly amused). You’re the hmit! At the 
Last Judgment, you’ll be around teUmg everyone it’s m 
the bag. 

JAMIE And I’ll be nght Shp a piece of change to the 
Judge and be saved, but if you’re broke you can go to 
heU' 


{He gnus at this blasphemy and Edmund has to laugh. 
Jamu goes on.) 

“Therefore put money in thy purse ” That’s the only 
dope. {Mockingly.) The secret of my success! Look, what 
It’s got me! 

{He lets Edmund’s hand go to pour a big dnnk, and gulps 
it down. He stares at his brother with bleary affec- 
tion — takes his hand again and begins to talk 
thickly but with a strange, convincing svnceniy ) 

Listen, Kid, you’U be gomg away. May not get another 
chance to talk. Or might not be drunk enough to tell you 
truth. So got to tell you now. Something I ought to have 
told you long ago — for your own good. 

{He pauses — struggling with himself. Edmund stares, 
impressed and uneasy. Jamie blurts outl) 

Not drunken bull, but “in vino ventas” stuff. You better 
tzike it senously. Want to warn you — against me. Mama 
and Papa are nght. I’ve been rotten bad influence. And 
worst of It IS, I id It on purpose. 

EDMUND {uneasily). Shut up' I don’t want to hear — 

K 145 



JAMIE. Nix, Kid' You Lsten! Did it on purpose to 
make a bum of you. Or part of me did A big part. That 
part that’s been dead so long That hates hfe. My putting 
you wise so you’d learn from my mistakes. Beheved that 
myself at times, but it’s a fake. Made my mistakes look 
good. Made getting drunk romantic. Made whores fas- 
cmating vampires instead of poor, stupid, diseased slobs 
they really are. Made fun of work as sucker’s game 
Never wanted you succeed and make me look even worse 
by comparison. Wanted you to fail. Always jealous of 
you Mama’s baby. Papa’s pet' {He stares at Edmund mth 
increasing enmity.) And it was your being bom that started 
Mama on dope. I know that’s not your fault, but all the 
same, God damn you, I can’t help hating your guts —1 

{cdrnustjhghienedly). Jzxax&\ Cut it out! You’re 

crazy! 

JAMIE. But don’t get wrong idea, Kid. I love you more 
than I hate you My saying what I’m telhng you now 
proves It. I run the risk you’ll hate me — and you’re all 
I’ve got left. But I didn’t mean to tell you that last stuff — 
go that fcir back. Don’t know what made me. What I 
wanted to say is, I’d hke to see you become the greatest 
success in the world. But you’d better be on your guard. 
Because I’ll do my damnedest to make you fad Can’t 
help it. I hate myself. Got to take revenge. On everyone 
else. Espeaally you. Oscar Wdde’s “Readmg Gaol” has 
the dope twisted. The man was dead, and so he had to 
kill the thing he loved. That’s what it ought to be. The 
dead part of me hopes you won’t get well. Maybe he’s 
even glad the game has got Mama again! He wants com- 
pany, he doesn’t want to be the only corpse around the 
house! {He gives a hard, tortured laugh.) 

EDMUND. Jesus, Jamie! You really have gone crazy! 

JAMIE. Think it over and you’ll see I’m nght. Think it 

146 



over when you’re away from me m the sanatorium. Make 
up your mind you’ve got to tie a can to me — get me out of 
your hfe — think of me as dead — tell people, "I had a 
brother, but he’s dead ” And when you come back, look 
out for me I’ll be waiting to welcome you with that “my 
old pal” stuff, and give you the glad hand, and at the first 
good chance I get stab you in the back. 

EDMUND Shut up' I’ll be God-damned if I’ll listen to 
you any more — ! 

jAi/SE. {as if he hadn't heard). Only don’t forget me. Re- 
member I warned you — for your sake. Give me credit. 
Greater love hath no man than this, that he saveth his 
brother from himself (Fe^ drunkenly, his head bobbing) 
That’s all Feel better now. Gone to confession. Know 
you absolve me, don’t you. Kid’* You imderstand. You’re 
a damned fine kid. Ought to be. I made you. So go and 
get well. Don’t die on me. You’re all I’ve got left. God 
bless you, K O. 

{He falls into a drunken dozfi, not completely asleep. Ed- 
mund bunes his face in his hands miserably. Tyrone 
comes in quietly through the screen door from the 
porch, his dressing gown wet with fog, the collar 
turned up around his throat. Hu face u stem and 
disgust^ but at the same time pitying. Edmund does 
not notice hu entrance ) 

TYRONE {in a low voice). Thank God he’s asleep. 

{Edmund looks up with a start.) 

I thought he’d never stop talkmg. {He turns down the collar 
of his dressing gown.) We’d better let him stay where he is 
and sleep it off. 

{Edmund remains silent. Tyrone regards hm — dtkn 
goes on.) 


147 



I heard the last part of his talk It’s what I’ve warned you 
I hope you’ll heed the warning, now it conies from his own 
mouth. 


{Edmund gives no sign of having heard Tjrone adds 
pityingly ) 

But don’t take it too much to heart, lad. He loves to 
exaggerate the worst of himself when he’s drunk. He’s 
devoted to you. It’s the one good thing left in him. {He 
looks down on Jamie with a bitter sadness ) A sweet spectacle 
for me' My first-born, who I hoped would bear my name 
m honour and digmty, who showed such brilhant promise! 

EDMUND {miserably). Keep qmet, can’t you, Papa^ 

TYRONE {pours a dnnk). A waste! A wreck, a drunken 
hulk, done with and finished! 

{He dnnks. Jamie has become restless, sensing his father's 
presence, struggling up from his stupor Now he gets 
his eyes open to blink up at Tyrone. The latter moves 
back a step defensively, his face growing hard ) 

JAMIE {suddenly points a finger at him and rentes with dramatic 
emphasis). 

“Clsirence is come, false, fleetmg, pequred Clarence, 
That stabbed me in the field by Tewksbury. 

Seize on him, Funes, take him into torment.” 

{Then resentfully 1) What the hell are you staring at? {He 
recites sardonically from Rossetti.) 

“Look in my face. My name is Might-Have-Been; 

I am also called No More, Too Late, Farewell.” 

TYRONE. I’m well aware of that, and Gkid knows I don’t 
want to look at it. 

EDMUND. Papa! Quit it! 

148 



iAMiE.{dmsivelj!). Got a great idea for you. Papa. Put on 
revival of The Bells this season. Great part in it you can 
play without make-up. Old Gaspard, the miser! 

( Tyrone turns away, trying to control fas temper ) 

EDMUND Shut up, Jamie! 

JAMIE (jeenng^'j. I claim Edwin Booth never saw the 
day when he could give as good a performance as a trained 
seal. Seals are intelhgent and honest They don’t put up 
any bluffs about the Art of Acting They admit they’re 
just hams earning their daily fish 

TSTRONE {stungi turns on him in a rage) You loafer! 

EDMUND Papal Do you want to start a row that will 
bung Mama down^ Jamie, go back to sleep! You’ve shot 
off your mouth too much already. 

{Tyrone turns away ) 

JAMIE {thicky). All nght. Kid Not looking for argu- 
ment. Too danmed sleepy. 

{He closes his eyes, hu head nodding. Tyrone comes to the 
table and sits down, turning fas chair so he won't 
look at Jamie At once he becomes sleepy, too ) 

TYRONE {heamly) . I wish to God she’d go to bed so that 
I could, too. {Drowsily.) I’m dog tired. I can’t stay up 
all night like I used to. Getting old — old and finished. 
{With a bone-cracking yawn.) Can’t keep my eyes open. I 
think I’ll catch a few winks. Why don’t you do the same, 
Edmund^ It’ll pass the time until she — 

{His voice treads off Hu ^es close, his clan sags, and he 
begiru to breathe heamly tkrough fas mouth. Edmund 
sits tensely. He hears something and jerks nervously 

149 



forward tn hu chair ^ staring through the front par- 
lour into the halL He jumps up with a hunted^ dis- 
tracted expression It seems for a second he is going 
to hide in the back parlour. Then he sits down again 
and waitSy his eyes averted^ his hands gripping the 
arms of his chair Suddenly all five bulbs of the 
chandelier in the front parlour are turned on from a 
wall switch^ and a moment later someone starts pick- 
ing the piano in there — the opening of one of 
Chopin^ s simpler waltzes^ done with a forgetful^ stiff- 
fingered groping^ as if an awkward schoolgirl were 
practising it for the first time Tyrone starts to wide- 
awakeness and sober dread^ and Jamie^s head jerks 
back and his eyes open. For a moment they listen 
frozenly. The playing stops as abruptly as it began^ 
and Mary appears in the doorway She wears a sky- 
blue dressing gown over her nightdress y dainty slippers 
with pompons on her bare feet Her face is paler 
than ever. Her eyes look enormous. They glisten 
like polished black jewels The uncanny thing is that 
her face now appears so youthful. Experience seems 
ironed out of it. It is a marble mask of girlish inno- 
cencey the mouth caught in a sly smile Her white 
hair IS braided in two pigtails which hang over her 
breast. Over one army earned neglectfully y trailing on 
the floor y as if she had forgotten she held ity is an old- 
fashioned white satin wedding gowny tnmmed with 
duchesse lace. She hesitates in the doorway y glancing 
round the roomy her forehead puckered puzzledlyy like 
someone who has come to a room to get something but 
has become absent-minded on the way and forgotten 
what it was They stare at her. She seems aware of 
them merely as she is aware of other objects in the 
roomy the furniture y the windows y familiar things she 
accepts automatically as naturally belonging there 
but which she is too preoccupied to notice ) 

150 



JAMIE {breaks the cracking silence — bitterly^ self^defensively 
sardonic). The Mad Scene. Enter Ophelia! 

{His father and brother both turn on him fiercely. Edmund 
IS quicker. He slaps Jamie across the mouth mih the 
back of his hand ) 

TYRONE {his voice trembling with suppressed fury). Good 
boy, Edmund. The dirty blackguard! His own mother! 

JAMIE {mumbles guiltily^ without resentment). All right, Kid. 
Had It coming. But I told you how much Fd hoped— {He 
puts his hands over his face and begins to sob.) 

TYRONE. I’ll kick you out in the gutter tomorrow, so 
help me God. {But Jamiis sobbing breaks hzs anger, and he 
turns and shakes his shoulder, pleading.) Jamie, for the love of 
God, stop it* 

{Then Mary speaks, and they freeze into silence again, 
staring at her. She has paid no attention whatever to 
the incident. It ts simply a part of the familiar atmo* 
sphere of the room, a background which does not touch 
her preoccupation; and she speaks aloud to herself, not 
to them.) 

MARY. I play so badly now. I’m all out of practice. 
Sister Theresa will give me a dreadful scolding. She’ll tell 
me It isn’t fair to my father when he spends so much money 
for extra lessons. She’s quite right, it isn’t fair, when he’s 
so good and generous, and so proud of me. I’ll practise 
every day from now on. But something horrible has hap- 
pened to my hands. The fingers have gotten so stiff— {She 
lifts her hands to examine them with afiightened puzzlement.) 
The knuckles are all swollen. They’re so ugly. I’ll have 
to go to the Infirmary and show Sister Martha. {Wilk a 
sweet smile of affectionate trust.) She’s old and a little cranky, 
but I love her just the same, and she has things^ in her 
medicme chest that’ll cure anything. She’ll give me 



something to rub on my hands, and tell me to pray to the 
Blessed Virgin, and they’ll be well again in no time. {She 
forgets her hands and comes into the room^ the wedding gown trails 
mg on the floor She glances around vaguely^ her forehead puckered 
again ) Let me see. What did I come here to find^ It’s 
ternble, how absent-minded Tve become. I’m always 
dreaming and forgetting 

TYRONE {in a stifled voice). What’s that she’s carrying, 
Edmund^ 

EDMUND {dully). Her wedding gown, I suppose. 

TYRONE. Christ* {He gets to his feet and stands directly in 
her path — in anguish.) Mary* Isn’t it bad enough—^ 
{Controlling himself — gently persuasive) Here, let me take 
It, dear. You’ll only step on it and tear it and get it dirty 
dragging it on the floor. Then you’d be sorry afterwards. 

{She lets him take ity regarding him from somewhere far 
away within herself without recognition^ without 
either affection or animosity.) 

MARY {with the shy politeness of a well-bred young girl toward 
an elderly gentleman who relieves her of a bundle). Thank you 
You are very kind. {She regards the wedding gown with a 
puzzled interest) It’s a wedding gown. It’s very lovely, isn’t 
it^ {A shadow crosses her face and she looks vaguely uneasy ) I 
remember now. I found it in the attic hidden in a trunk. 
But I don’t know what I wanted it for. I’m going to be a 
nun — that is, if I can only find — {She looks around the 
room^ her forehead puckered again ) What is it I’m looking 
for? I know it’s something I lost. {She moves back from 
Tyrone^ aware of him now only as some obstacle in her path.) 

TYRONE {in hopeless appeal). Mary! 

{But It carmot penetrate her preoccupation. She doesn^t 
seem to hear him. He gives up helplessly ^ shrinking 
into himself even his defensive drurdtenruess taken 

152 



from him^ leaving him sick and sober. He sinks baek 
on his chair, holding the wedding gown in his arms 
with an unconscious clumsy, protective gentleness,) 

JAMIE {drops his hand from his face, his eyes on the table top. 
He has suddenly sobered up, too — dully) It’s no good, Papa. 
{He recites from Swinbum/s Leave-taking"' and does it well, 
simply but with a bitter sadness,) 

‘Tet us nse up and part; she will not know. 

Let us go seaward as the great winds go. 

Full of blown sand and foam, what help is here^ 
There is no help, for all these things are so, 

And all the world is bitter as a tear 

And how these things are, though ye strove to show. 

She would not know.*’ 

MARY {looking around her). Something I miss terribly. It 
can’t be altogether lost. {She starts to move around behind 
Jamies chair ) 

JAMIE {turns to look up into her face — and cannot help appeal- 
ing pleadingly in his turn). Mama! {She does not seem to hear. 
He looks away hopelessly,) Hell* vhiat’s the use? It’s no 
good. {He reatesfrom ''A Leave-taking" again with increased 
bitterness,) 

‘‘Let us go hence, my songs; she will not hear. 

Let us go hence together without fear; 

Keep silence now, for smgmg-time is over. 

And over all old things and all things dear. 

She loves not you nor me as all we love her. 

Yea, though we sang as angels m her ear, 

She would not hear.” 

MARY {looking around her). Something I need terribly. 
I remember when I had it I was never lonely nor a&aid. I 
can’t have lost it for ever. I would die if I thought that. 
Because then there would be no hope. {She moves like a 

153 



sleepwalker y around the back of Jamie^s chair ^ then forward toward 
left fronts passing behind Edmund.) 

EDMUND {turns impulsively and grabs her arm. As he pleads he 
has the quality of a bewilderedly hurt little boy) Mama* It 
isn’t a summer cold! Fve got consumption* 

MARY {for a second he seems to have broken through to her. She 
trembles and her expression becomes terrified She calls distractedly^ 
as if giving a command to h&rself) . No * {And instantly she is far 
away again. She murmurs gently but impersonally ) You must 
not try to touch me You must not try to hold me. It isn’t 
nght, when I am hoping to be a nun. 

{He lets his hand drop from her arm. She moves left to the 
front end of the sofa beneath the windows and sits 
down^ facing fronts her hands folded in her lap^ in a 
demure schoolgirlish pose.) 

JAMIE {gives Edmund a strange look of mingled pity and jealous 
gloating). You damned fool. It’s no good. {He recites again 
from the Swinburne poem.) 

us go hence, go hence; she will not see. 

Sing all once more together; surely she, 

She too, remembering days and words that were, 

Will turn a htde toward us, sighing, but we, 

We are hence, we are gone, as though we had not been 
there. 

Nay, and though all men seeing had pity on me. 

She would not see.’^ 

TYRONE {t^ng to shake off his hopeless stupor) Oh, we’re 
fools to pay any attention. It’s the damned poison But 
I’ve never known her to drown herself in it as deep as this. 
{Gruffly.) Pass me that bottle, Jamie. And stop reciting 
that damned morbid poetry. I won’t have it in my house* 

{Jamie pushes the bottle toward him. He pours a dnnk 
mthout disarranging the wedding gown he holds 

154 



carefully over his other arm and on his lapy and 
shoves the bottle back Jaime pours las and passes 
the bottle to Edmund, who, in turn, pours one. 
Tyrone lifts his glass and his sons follow suit mech- 
anically, but before they can dnnk Maiy speaks and 
they slowly lower their dnnks to the table, forgetting 
them ) 

MARY {stanng dreamily before her. Her face looks extra- 
ordinarily youthful and innocent The shyly eager, trusting smile is 
on her lips as she talks aloud to herself). I had a talk ■with 
Mother Elizabeth. She is so sweet and good. A saint on 
earth. I love her dearly. It may be sinful of me but I love 
her better than my own modier. Because she always 
understands, even before you say a word. Her kind blue 
eyes look nght into your heart. You can’t keep any 
secrets from her. You couldn’t deceive her, even if you 
were mean enough to want to. {She gives a little rebellious 
toss of her head — with girlish pique ) All the same, I don’t 
think she was so understanding this time. I told her I 
wanted to be a nun I explained how sure I was of my 
vocation, that I had prayed to the Blessed Virgin to make 
me sure, and to find me worthy. I told Mother I had had a 
true -vision when I was praymg in the shrine of Our Lady 
of Lourdes, on the htde island in the lake. I said I knew, 
as surely as I knew I was kneeling there, that the Blessed 
Virgin had smiled and blessed me -with her consent. But 
Mother Elizabeth told me I must be more sure th^ that, 
even, that I must prove it wasn’t simply my imagination 
She said, if I was so sure, then I wouldn’t mind putog 
m-yself to a test by gomg home after I graduated and li-ving 
as other girls hved, going out to parties and danc^ and 
enjoying m-yself, and then if after a year or two I still felt 
sure, I could come back to see her and we would talk it 
over again. {She tosses her head—indignanUy.) I never 
dreamed Holy Mother would give me such, advice! I was 

155 



really shocked. I said, of course, I would do anything she 
suggested, but I knew it was simply a waste of time. After 
I left her, I felt all mixed up, so I went to the shnne and 
prayed to the Blessed Virgin and found peace again be- 
cause I knew she heard my prayer and would always love 
me and see no harm ever came to me so long as I never 
lost my faith m her {She pauses and a look of growing un-- 
easiness comes over her face. She passes a hand over her forehead 
as if brushing cobwebs from her brain — vaguely ) That was 
m the winter of semor year. Then in the spring some- 
thing happened to me Yes, I remember. I fell in love 
with James Tyrone and was so happy for a time. 

{She stares before her in a sad dream. Tyrone stirs in his 
chair. Edmund and Jamie remain motionless.) 

Curtain 


Too House 
December 20, 1940